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A statewide program intended to address the shortage of qualified public health laboratory directors in California will pay for Humboldt County’s current lab manager to obtain a doctorate in Public Health.
Stringent requirements, including a Ph.D., supervisorial experience, board certification and a license have made it difficult to fill directorships throughout the state, including in Humboldt County. Public Health Laboratory Manager Jeremy Corrigan said many directors are overseeing two labs and some are close to retirement.
In response to the need, the LabAspire program, sponsored in part by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), committed $500,000 in funding to assist candidates in fulfilling the necessary requirements.
Corrigan was one of 11 applicants accepted into the program. He will start the program in August, and will be eligible to apply for the lab directorship when he completes it.
Corrigan has served as the manager at the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Service’s Public Health Laboratory for the past seven years. Prior to coming to Humboldt he was a microbiologist for Sonoma County. To fulfill the need for a lab director, Sonoma County Laboratory Director Mike Ferris currently oversees Humboldt’s lab as well.
Corrigan estimates the cost for tuition and supplies to be almost $70,000.
“I am grateful for this pathway and look forward to the challenges ahead as well as the opportunity to give back to my community and our local Public Health Laboratory,” Corrigan said.
“Jeremy takes great pride in the work he and his team do in the lab and has a very strong work ethic,” said Public Health Director Michele Stephens. “This is a tremendous professional opportunity for him and a huge benefit to Humboldt County as a result. He’s worked hard for it and truly deserves such an opportunity.”
The Public Health Laboratory provides testing for things like influenza, measles, norovirus, salmonella and a variety of respiratory viruses. The lab also conducts water testing and tests ticks for the Lyme disease-causing bacterium.
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