Mayor Chris Beutler today announced his appointment of Judy Halstead as Health Director of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD). Halstead began her career with LLCHD in 1994 and has served as the Resource and Program Development Coordinator since February 2002. Bruce Dart, who has served as Health Director since 2001, has accepted a position as Health Director of the Tulsa, Oklahoma City-County Health Department. The leadership change is expected to occur in late October.
Mayor Beutler thanked Dart for his service to the community and praised him for his accomplishments. "Under Bruce's leadership, Lincoln become the first community in the state to adopt a smoke-free workplace ordinance," Beutler said. "He established community-wide pandemic planning and worked to increase access to health care for families without insurance. His efforts will have a positive long-term impact on our city. We are a healthier community because of his leadership." During Dart's tenure, LLCHD received record numbers of grants and contracts to enhance services and lessen the demand on local tax dollars. Dart also earned his Ph.D. from Walden University in Minnesota in 2005.
Dart thanked the community for its support. "It has been a pleasure working for the residents of Lincoln and Lancaster County," he said. "The LLCHD does very important work here, and we can't do it without the support of the community, the Mayor, the Board of Health, the City Council and County Board. I will miss Lincoln. To paraphrase Vince Lombardi, 'we worked hard to achieve perfection and found a little excellence along the way.'"
Halstead received bachelor's and master's degrees in behavioral health from Creighton University in Omaha. Before joining LLCHD, she worked for State and nonprofit health and human service organizations. In her current position, she supervises three divisions, which include 92 full and part-time staff with budgets of more than $7.5 million in City, County and grant funds.
"Judy shares Bruce's deep commitment to public health and is a proven leader in the Health Department," Beutler said. "Her accomplishments include coordinating the development of the People's Health Center and helping to secure the initial funding. She also served as project manager for the expansion and renovation of the Health Department's facility. That $10 million project was completed on time and under budget and has allowed for the more efficient and effective delivery of key health services."
Halstead also has monitored State and federal legislation and has actively pursued legislation for LLCHD. She spearheaded legislation and programming for the Early Development Network for families with young children who have disabilities as well as the Lifespan Respite Program.
"I am honored and humbled to be asked to try to follow in Bruce's footsteps," said Halstead. "I look forward to leading the wonderful staff at the Health Department, and through our community partnerships, we will continue the work to strengthen the health of our community."
The Health Director reports directly to the Mayor and is responsible for planning, coordinating, supervising and evaluating all activities and programs of LLCHD. The department employs 164 FTEs (full-time equivalents). Halstead's appointment must be confirmed by the City Council, the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners and the Board of Health.
"The Board of Health is grateful for Dr. Dart's leadership and service to the community," said Karla Lester, M.D., Board of Health President. "Bruce has provided years of perspective, innovation and guidance on key public health issues. Those qualities will serve him well in his new position and we wish him all the best. Judy Halstead is an excellent choice as the new Health Director. She has been and will continue to be a strong advocate, leader and visionary in the protection and promotion of our public's health. The Board looks forward to supporting Ms. Halstead and the Health Department as we work together in carrying out our mission and vision."