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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Executive Constantine, Mayor Harrell appoint experienced leader as Director of Public Health

Summary

Executive Constantine and Mayor Harrell appointed Dr. Faisal Khan – a 25-year veteran in the public health field – to serve as the next Director of Public Health – Seattle & King County.

Story

Dr. Faisal Khan

Dr. Faisal Khan

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell today appointed Dr. Faisal Khan, a 25-year leader in public health at global, state and local levels - as the Director of Public Health - Seattle & King County.

"Dr. Khan has the experience and expertise to lead Public Health into the next phase, and he brings a fresh perspective to serving the people of King County," said Executive Constantine. "We look forward to his leadership as our dedicated employees continue our national reputation for excellence in public health and health equity - making King County a community where every person can thrive."

"We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Faisal Khan as our new director of public health," said Mayor Bruce Harrell. "From navigating through this stage of the pandemic to addressing public health crises like the disparate impacts of gun violence, Dr. Khan's decades of public health leadership will enhance the good work our strong team at Seattle-King County Public Health is doing to support vulnerable communities. After several years of draining -- and critical -- emergency public health response, Dr. Khan has the experience and vision to lay a foundation as we refocus and rebuild for a healthy future of our region."

“Public health is not just a career – it’s a calling in life. It’s a distinct honor and privilege to earn the trust of Executive Constantine and Mayor Harrell, and I look forward to earning the trust of the people of King County,” said Dr. Faisal Khan. “Having worked across the country, I know the esteem and respect that Public Health – Seattle & King County have from their peers, and I look forward to continuing that reputation. We have so much work ahead to continue our recovery through the pandemic, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Public Health – Seattle & King County protects and improves the health and well-being of over two million residents and many more visitors of Seattle and King County through disease protection, health promotion, and assurance of quality healthcare services, with a dedication to health equity. Its 2,000 employees have worked with community to be a national leader in COVID-19 response, having among the highest vaccination and lowest COVID death rates in the nation.

In addition, Public Health delivers a wide range of services every day that make King County a better place to live, including environmental health; emergency medical services; parent-child health; reproductive health; injury, violence, and chronic disease prevention; healthcare for the homeless and incarcerated; disease investigation and response; and other services for all communities.

Dr. Khan brings extensive experience and innovation in improving community health, with interest in social and economic factors that contribute to disease. Most recently, he served as acting Public Health Director for St. Louis County Department of Health in Missouri, and earlier served as their Director (2015-18) and their Director of Communicable Disease Control (2010-2015). He has experience leading health care safety net systems, serving as CEO of the Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center from 2018-2021, providing primary care services to patients in the greater Kansas City area.

Over his career, he has worked in Pakistan, Australia, Vietnam, South Africa, Botswana and the United States on a variety of communicable disease control issues, including TB/HIV co-infection, multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB, hepatitis B & C, polio and the WHO Expanded Program on Immunization. In the United States, Dr. Khan served as Director of the HIV/AIDS & STD program in the state of West Virginia and in a similar capacity in Massachusetts.

For over the past year, Dennis Worsham stepped forward from his role as Prevention Division Director to serve as Public Health’s Interim Director, working with community partners through the second year of the COVID pandemic in response to several infection surges, increasing vaccination rates to save lives, and setting the department's future path in addressing COVID. In addition, the department responded to other priority public health challenges such as homelessness, opioid deaths and gun violence, and advanced anti-racism as a public health priority.

“It’s been a profound honor to serve the community in this historically challenging time. I am so proud of our staff, who have shown themselves to be the most adaptable, compassionate, innovative and collaborative team that anyone could hope to lead,” said Worsham. “Their work in partnership with our community has saved so many lives and demonstrated a new path forward in working together to address our most difficult public health challenges.”

“Dennis’ steady leadership during the storm of the pandemic has been critical to our region’s successful response, and I want to thank him for his outstanding and ongoing service as Interim Director. I look forward to his continued contributions in Public Health leadership,” said Executive Constantine.

Dr. Khan’s appointment as Public Health Director is subject to confirmation by the Metropolitan King County Council and the Seattle City Council. Worsham will continue to serve as Interim Director until Dr. Khan begins with the department September 6.


Relevant links


Quotes

Dr. Khan has the experience and expertise to lead Public Health into the next phase, and he brings a fresh perspective to serving the people of King County. We look forward to his leadership as our dedicated employees continue our national reputation for excellence in public health and health equity - making King County a community where every person can thrive.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Faisal Khan as our new director of public health. From navigating through this stage of the pandemic to addressing public health crises like the disparate impacts of gun violence, Dr. Khan's decades of public health leadership will enhance the good work our strong team at Seattle-King County Public Health is doing to support vulnerable communities. After several years of draining -- and critical -- emergency public health response, Dr. Khan has the experience and vision to lay a foundation as we refocus and rebuild for a healthy future of our region.

Mayor Bruce Harrell, City of Seattle

Public health is not just a career – it’s a calling in life. It’s a distinct honor and privilege to earn the trust of Executive Constantine and Mayor Harrell, and I look forward to earning the trust of the people of King County. Having worked across the country, I know the esteem and respect that Public Health – Seattle & King County have from their peers, and I look forward to continuing that reputation. We have so much work ahead to continue our recovery through the pandemic, and I can’t wait to get started.

Dr. Faisal Khan

It’s been a profound honor to serve the community in this historically challenging time. I am so proud of our staff, who have shown themselves to be the most adaptable, compassionate, innovative and collaborative team that anyone could hope to lead. Their work in partnership with our community has saved so many lives and demonstrated a new path forward in working together to address our most difficult public health challenges.

Dennis Worsham, Interim Director Public Health - Seattle & King County

For more information, contact:

Chase Gallagher, Executive Office, 206-263-8537


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography