Phoenix hires city’s first public health advisor

After COVID-19 highlighted a need, Phoenix hired its first public health consultant, Nicole Dupuis-Witt, to join city leadership starting Monday, Oct. 10. 17, according to Phoenix manager Jeff Barton.

“I am very excited to return to Arizona and join the team in Phoenix. It has been an honor and a privilege to be selected as the city’s first public health advisor,” Dupuis-Witt said.

“While COVID-19 will continue to be an important public health priority in the near future, I look forward to working with the community to address other critical public health issues and a vision for a healthier Phoenix.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the city sought professional counseling services to assist Phoenix’s public health efforts in response to the pandemic. This expertise has proven helpful in advising the city on a strategic approach to its pandemic recovery and response, emphasizing the need to bring public health knowledge to the city on a long-term, full-time basis.

“Adding public health expertise to our leadership team enhances our ability to meet public health needs across the city,” Barton said.

“Public health is a core tenant of many of the city’s top priorities, including heat response and mitigation, housing and homelessness, food systems, senior services, transportation, and more. I believe Nicole’s experience and data-driven approach will further connect Phoenix Positioned as a resilient and prosperous place to live, work and play.”

As a public health advisor, Dupuis-Witt will work closely with city departments to achieve public health goals and support city priorities.

The advisory position was approved by the Phoenix Council in April.

“We have an opportunity for a longer-term solution to get advice on health equity, which is key to many of the decisions we make in our communities,” Mayor Kate Gallego said at a council meeting in April.

“I really hope we can work closely with the people who are hired for this and better navigate this very complex organization in Phoenix…I think this person can really work hard to make sure we’re making important decisions when Have health expertise and put equity first.”

That’s what Dupuis-Witt calls her goal.

Dupuis-Witt brings more than 15 years of experience leading transformative health initiatives to Phoenix.

She is known for her advocacy for fair treatment of health services and multisectoral, multipartner collaborations that improve health outcomes in diverse communities.

Her extensive experience includes working in urban and rural areas in three countries, building bridges between local government, public health and the non-profit sector.

Most recently, Dupuis-Witt served as CEO of the Windsor-Essex County Health Department in Ontario, Canada — a role she held during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to COVID-19, she has led an integrated approach to the complex issues of the opioid crisis, community food insecurity, and mental health services.

Dupuis-Witt holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an undergraduate degree in anthropology from Arizona State University.

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