Umatilla County appoints new health director

<p class="p1"><span class="s1">Meghan DeBolt</span></p>

New Umatilla County Health Director Meghan DeBolt has trekked the country over her seven-year career, but the Pendleton-native wants to spend the rest of it in a position that’s recently been a revolving door.

“Because her roots and her family are in Pendleton, that’s an added bonus,” County Commissioner George Murdock said in a press release. “Meghan has made it very clear this is where she wants to live, work and raise her family. We had a very large interview team from both public health and human services, and the group is very excited to have someone like Meghan to lead us forward.”

The 29-year-old DeBolt said she was content to be a stay-at-home mother in San Diego, but when her “dream job” came open and had a registered nurse requirement removed, she quickly applied.

Returning to nursing was the reason why DeBolt’s predecessors, Genni Lehnert-Beers and Sarah Williams, resigned within months of each other in the past year.

Murdock served as the interim health director after Williams resigned.

DeBolt said her area of expertise is in health administration. She said she plans to retire as the county health director.

The Pendleton High School alum got her bachelor’s degree at Linfield College before hopping across the country to get her master’s degree public health from Emory University in Atlanta.

After working for Delta Airlines and helping the Atlanta company institute an on-board recycling program, she moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, where she worked as a city parks supervisor and a grants specialist for the local school district.

While DeBolt didn’t have immediate plans to reenter the workforce after she got married and started raising a family in San Diego, the lure of moving back home proved strong enough that she applied exclusively for the county position.

As DeBolt transitions from San Diego to Pendleton, she said one of her top priorities will be to expand the county’s health services to its migrant population, especially in cities like Milton-Freewater and Umatilla.

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Contact Antonio Sierra at asierra@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0836.

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