Dr. Ian P. Hoffman is expected to be named the county’s new health officer, pending confirmation by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. He replaces Dr. Teresa Frankovich, who stepped back from the position earlier this week.
Dr. Hoffman holds both a Doctorate of Medicine and Masters of Public Health from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers. He has worked previously for Kaiser Permanente in Portland, Ore. and San Francisco, as well as at Open Door Clinic in Arcata, Southwest Community Health Center in Santa Rosa and La Clinica de La Raza in Oakland.
Dr. Hoffman worked with the Latino community in the Bay Area for more than a decade and said he looks forward to continuing that work in Humboldt County. “Yo trabajé por los últimos 12 años con la gente Latina,” dijo el Dr. Hoffman. “Espero seguir ayudando y trabajando con las personas que hablan español en mi trabajo como oficial de salud pública.”
Dr. Hoffman moved to Humboldt County to raise his children near extended family. An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Hoffman spends his time hiking, surfing, backpacking and skiing in addition to his work within the community.
The doctor acknowledged the challenges inherent in taking on this role in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID response in Humboldt County has been robust and cohesive,” he said. “We are well positioned going into the winter with increased contact investigations staff, expanded testing, an Alternative Care Site and planning underway for a vaccine rollout in the coming months.”
He also noted that this has been a challenging time for the community. “I’m new to the fight against COVID in Humboldt County, but I know the community is not,” Dr. Hoffman said. “Many of you have been at this since February and are frankly exhausted by it. I want to listen to and understand those experiences and continue the level of community involvement and openness that has been set by everyone who has been part of the emergency response team.”
Public Health Director Michele Stephens welcomed Dr. Hoffman and said despite the timing of the transition, she had every confidence he is up for the challenges ahead.
“It’s not just COVID,” Stephens said. “As a local health jurisdiction, we’ve maintained our programs and services despite the pandemic. Our community health improvement planning continues as well. Some of Dr. Hoffman’s time will be spent engaged in improving outcomes related to adverse childhood experiences, housing and homelessness and behavior health and substance abuse.”
Dr. Hoffman’s hiring will be official once the Board of Supervisors confirms the appointment.
Dr. Hoffman expressed gratitude that he would not be doing the work alone. “We have the full and ongoing support of the well-established team of Public Health and Emergency Operations Center staff who will continue the work. I will be coming in to lead this already strong team and will work hard to make the transition seamless.”
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Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman.