Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Missoula County Commissioners have recently named Jeanna Miller as the new Missoula Public Health Officer.

I spoke with Miller about her journey from within the agency.

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“I started at the health department in 2007 and I've kind of worn various hats in the environmental health division as an Environmental Health Specialist,” began Miller. “I was on an environmental health team that did a lot of outbreak investigation and license establishment inspections.”

Miller acknowledged the fact that most Missoula County residents don’t give much thought to Missoula Public Health until there’s a disease outbreak or an emergency.

“The public health system and public health infrastructure are not necessarily on the forefront of folks' mind when everything's going well, you know when the systems are in place and we're not having those curveballs thrown at us,” she said. “People don't necessarily think about public health and the things that we're doing on a day-to-day basis to keep folks safe, however, when something like a global pandemic pops up, it's certainly on everyone's radar.”

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Miller said all the employees at the Health Department work hard every day to earn the trust of the public.

“Certainly, here at the health department, what we value and what we put at the forefront is keeping people safe and healthy, and the more we can show that when we're not in a crisis, the easier it will be to cooperate and build trust and really have successful strategies to overcome something like that.”

Miller laid out her priorities as the new director of Missoula Public Health.

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Miller Wants to Build Relationships and Improve the Trust of the Community

“Building relationships and improving trust among folks in our community, are some of my top priorities,” she said. “I'm really looking forward to doing that. I'm building consensus around conditions that make us all healthier and make our environment safer and more resilient. I think that's a common goal that everyone shares. How we get there we, don't always agree upon, but I think that that's where a lot of the good conversations start, and that's where relationships are formed.”

Prior health department directors include Ellen Leahy and the most recent director Damian Chase-Begay.

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