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The Washtenaw County Health Department is happy to announce the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners has appointed Jimena Loveluck as the County’s new Health Officer. Loveluck has spent her entire career in public health, including as Deputy Health Officer for the Health Department since 2017.
Loveluck will be taking over for current Health Officer Ellen Rabinowitz, who will retire later this summer after decades of public service with Washtenaw County. To ensure a smooth transition, Loveluck will assume the Health Officer title today, June 24, but work with Rabinowitz until August 31.
“Jimena will bring a strong vision for improving health for all in her new role,” says Rabinowitz. “Jimena has been working in this community for years. She is deeply respected by partners in our community and held in high esteem by our staff.”
As Deputy Health Officer at the Washtenaw County Health Department, Loveluck has led initiatives to combat the opioid crisis, integrate public health services, and increase health equity. She has successfully written grants, bringing both new funding and staff to the County, including the County’s first CDC Public Health Associate. Loveluck currently manages several divisions within the Health Department and represents the Health Department on community boards. She served as Acting Health Officer for two months in 2018.
Prior to joining the Washtenaw County Health Department staff, Loveluck was the Vice Chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Health and Vice President of Community Research and Innovation for UNIFIED – HIV Health and Beyond. She also served as the president and CEO of the HIV/AIDS Resource Center in Ypsilanti for fifteen years.
Loveluck will be the first Latinx and first bilingual health officer for Washtenaw County.
Rabinowitz began her career at Washtenaw County thirty years ago with the Planning Commission and has been with the Health Department since 1996. Over the course of her career she has been instrumental in bringing health equity and racial equity to the forefront of the work and decision making at the Health Department and the County. She led the Washtenaw County Health Department in being among the first local health departments in the country to achieve National Accreditation.
“I have seen firsthand the skill and dedication Ellen has brought every day to her work at the health department,” says Loveluck. “We are also fortunate to have a stellar team of public health professionals who work tirelessly to promote health for all in Washtenaw County. I have learned so much from her and look forward to building upon the solid foundation she has established.”
Ellen Rabinowitz has also served as the Executive Director for the Washtenaw Health Plan (WHP) since 2002. The WHP board is working to fill that position. A successor will be named in the coming months.
Health officers in Michigan have the authority and responsibility to protect the public’s health. This can include declaring a public health emergency due to a disease outbreak, quarantining people or places when a health threat is suspected, or closing a restaurant. More often, however, the job entails working with staff and the community to develop and oversee programs and policies that help residents access the conditions needed to live their healthiest lives.
Loveluck’s appointment has been approved by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.