HOAC Supports California’s new State Public Health Officer

The Health Officers Association of California (HOAC) is pleased to support Tomás Aragón, MD, DrPH as California’s state public health officer and director of the California Department of Public Health. Dr. Aragón has the experience and education necessary for this difficult job, and he has smarts and integrity as a colleague and a leader. Perhaps most importantly, Dr. Aragón engages with people and with issues with a deep-seated humility; he truly embodies the role of a public servant. We wish him the best in this new role and will work with him every day to protect public health in California.

Governor’s Executive Order Protects Local Health Officials

On September 23, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to protect the home addresses of local health officers. Visit his website to read the executive order and accompanying press release.

We thank the governor for protecting the officials who protect public health. California’s local health officers have been working tirelessly since the start of the pandemic, using science to guide policy. Local health officers are physicians who chose a career in public service, providing population-based disease prevention measures that are often taken for granted by the communities they protect. In the last six months, these health officers have been subjected to unprecedented harassment. It is regrettable that this order was necessary — but we are grateful for it nevertheless.

California Medical Association Supports Local Health Officials

Our colleagues at the California Medical Association released a statement on June 4, 2020, in support of local health officials. We join them in thanking our members for all they do.

“California’s response to COVID-19 and our success in flattening the curve has been driven by the leadership of our local county health officers. The California Medical Association is deeply disturbed by the news that some local health officers, many of whom have been working tirelessly over the last three months, have been subject to unfair and uninformed attacks and have become political targets for those seeking to vent their frustrations about what must be done to protect the public at large.

Half a dozen county health leaders are leaving their positions in the coming weeks. All of them have served with distinction and in the interest of public health. We are deeply concerned that politics may be trumping public interest in some of these cases, and that the public’s health may be compromised as a result.

The COVID-19 crisis is not over. We must continue to have a coordinated state and local response that is rooted in science and civility. We must do all we can to support our local health officials who are providing the courage and leadership California needs to continue to navigate this health crisis.”

HOAC Releases Documents on Hiring a Local Health Officer

HOAC has created resources for counties or cities needing to hire a new health officer. HOAC staff is available if you have any questions.

HOAC Releases Report on Community Immunity by Legislative District

Using publicly available data, HOAC has found that there are 835 schools in California who have a kindergarten MMR immunization rate of less than 95%. 397,887 children attend these schools. HOAC has released a report listing these schools by state legislative district. You can read the report here.

HOAC’s Legislative Program

To view our bill tracking reports and see our position statements, please see our legislation page