The Benton-Franklin Health District seeks four community members to serve on its board, a new requirement passed by the state Legislature in 2021 to create a more balanced governing body.
The deadline to apply is Oct. 31.
The existing six-member board is made up of elected county commissioners: Benton County Commissioners Will McKay (serving as vice chair), Jerome Delvin and Shon Small; and Franklin County Commissioners Rocky Mullen (serving as chair), Brad Peck and Clint Didier.
The four new non-elected board members will serve with four of six elected county commissioners.
Their responsibilities will include attending monthly meetings, advocating for public health, participating in strategic planning with health district leadership, and ensuring a diverse and equitable approach to policymaking.
“Public health in Benton and Franklin counties has a bright future ahead. We look forward to expanding our Board of Health to include community members passionate about serving and protecting our residents. We are looking for candidates who embrace our area, listen to their neighbors, and desire to share their personal and professional experiences to help grow Benton-Franklin Health District’s reach. This is an exciting opportunity for our new non-elected members as they will help guide our decision making as we shape the future of public health,” said Jason Zaccaria, BFHD’s public health administrator, in a news release.
The volunteer board positions are unpaid but there is compensation for travel.
The new Board of Health makeup is a result of HB 1152, which aimed to eliminate politics from local public health boards by requiring that they include a balance of elected officials and nonelected people who have a diversity of expertise and life experience, according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane.
One of the four new board members will be appointed by the American Indian Health Commission.
The other three must be from one of these categories:
- Health care provider. This can include physicians, osteopathic physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses, pharmacists, epidemiologists, dentists, naturopaths, hospital employees, or anyone with experience in environmental health. Those with master’s degrees or higher in public health or the equivalent also may apply.
- Community stakeholder. This person may be from community-based organizations or nonprofits working with populations experiencing health inequities; business community members; or an active, reserve or retired military service member.
- Consumer of public health. This may be a resident who has faced significant health inequities or has experiences with public health-related programs, including WIC (Women, Infants & Children), SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or NFP (Nurse-Family Partnership). People from historically marginalized and underrepresented communities are encouraged to serve.
The appointed board members will serve two-year terms and will have voting power on all matters except those related to setting or modifying permits, licensing and application fees.
Board members must live in Benton or Franklin county.