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Restructuring at Oneida County Health Department

By JOLEEN FERRIS

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. has announced a major restructuring of the county health department which includes the creation of an upper-level position the department has never had.

Picente on Tuesday announced that Phyllis Ellis, former Vice President in Charge of Emergency Medical Services for St. Elizabeth Medical Center, will be the new director of the Oneida County Health Department. Ellis created the hospital's trauma program in 1987

The county executive also announced that for the first time ever, the department of about 90 workers will have a deputy director. Patrice Bogan, who has served as interim director for the past year, will become deputy.

Picente says another layer of management is warranted in a department that's involved in everything from restaurant inspections to rabies clinics.

"We have seen in this community various areas of small time epidemics, to flooding to environmental issues to various of concern in our schools," said Picente, adding that the department must also carry out various state and federal mandates as well.

It's too early for Ellis to set forth any goals, as she hasn't been in the department yet; the County Board of Legislators has to approve her appointment and isn't expected to do so until mid-August.

However, she is excited about the public aspect of public health.

"I'm excited about working with the community because there's so many avenues in public health that you'll be out in the community working with our community partners and that's really exciting to me," says Ellis.

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