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Greenfield names new health director

  • The Greenfield Board of Health held a meeting Wednesday night to talk about a needle exchange program in the town. RECORDER STAFF/ANDY CASTILLO ANDY CASTILLO



Recorder Staff
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

GREENFIELD — After a nearly three-month search, Mayor William Martin hired a new director for the town’s health department, he announced Wednesday.

Alexeev Jones is the new director, bringing about 20 years of experience in health administration and law with him.

“For over 20 years, I’ve led vigorous efforts in improving health care in several hospitals, public health and mental health agencies, with the goal of helping people live healthier and more productive lives,” Jones said in a statement from the town. “My overall goal is to utilize my knowledge and experience by developing a system that can address all needs concerning the citizens of Greenfield.”

Jones will move from Boaz, Ala., about an hour northeast of Birmingham, after working a majority of his career in the South. Since 2016, he has been working at a Sand Mountain law firm, doing marketing and acting as the director of legal assistance, according to his resume. While there, he was studying at Birmingham School of Law, pursuing a degree in public health law.

Before that, from 2012 to 2014 he was at Camp Shane, a weight loss camp in Georgia, as an assistant director, working as a cognitive behavioral therapist and health educator.

The mayor feels fortunate for the town to appoint Jones as the new director, after interviewing about half a dozen candidates.

“We were lucky to receive such a well-qualified individual,” Martin said, citing Jones’s community health background and his degrees.

Jones holds a master’s degree in public health from Mercer University School of Medicine in 2002 and a master’s degree in mental health counseling in 2005 from Fort Valley State University in Georgia. He also received a certification of completion from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine for its medical education development program.

The mayor hopes Jones will help lead the way to advance his “health quest” initiative to improve access to health care for all in the town.

Martin also will look to Jones to organize educational programs on topics of current concern like illness from mosquito-borne viruses.

The previous director, Nicole Zabko, stepped away from the position in July after 12 years. She had decided to change positions to work with her husband. The town had arranged for Zabko to help with the transition to the next director, likely assisting in some capacity through the calendar year.

Now on his plate

Now Jones will come into the position with a handful of hot button issues on the department’s plate like the ramifications of the ongoing opioid epidemic.

The most recent juncture in the crisis is how the department has addressed needle exchanges, approving one for Tapestry Health, the group that works to help reduce the potential for HIV and Hepatitis C infections, nearly a year ago. But since that approval, Tapestry Health has struggled to find a place to run its program. Most recently, a proposed ordinance by Vice Chairman of the Town Council Isaac Mass looks to constrict who can distribute needles, based on a recent state Supreme Court decision that opened up the gate for anyone to distribute needles based on a health concern.

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264