Kane Health Department Executive Director Barb Jeffers Will Retire, Effective Dec. 1

Kane Health Department Executive Director Barb Jeffers Will Retire, Effective Dec. 1

Kane County Health Department staff members welcome U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Nirav D. Shah and County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen for an Opioid Roundtable meeting in 2018.

Kane County Health Department Executive Director Barb Jeffers has submitted a letter of resignation,  with an effective date of Dec. 1, 2020.

Jeffers, who has led the Health Department through some of its most challenging times during the COVID-19 pandemic, said she has made the decision to retire and is looking forward to the next chapter in her life.

Barb Jeffers

Jeffers has served in a leadership position at the Health Department for the past 15 years and has served as its executive director for the past eight-and-a-half years.

During Jeffers’ tenure as executive director, the Health Department has guided the residents of Kane County through a tuberculosis outbreak, the Ebola virus, the Zika virus and now COVID-19.

Under Jeffers, Kane County became the first county health department to achieve national accreditation. KCDH earned re-accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board just last year.

“Being a vital contributor and leader of these significant public health achievements has been the highlight of my career,” she said in her Nov. 4 letter of resignation.

The national accreditation program, jointly supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, sets standards against which the nation’s nearly 3,000 governmental public health departments can continuously improve the quality of their services and performance.

Kane County Health Department staff stand in front of their new electric vehicle charging station. (Left to Right: Executive Director Barb Jeffers, Akasia Watkins, Nora Arch)

KCHD has been recognized for creating and supporting numerous outreach programs, including Kane Kares, which provides assistance for first time mothers; Kane Health Counts, a community health improvement plan; All Our Kids early childhood networks; Fit For Kids, a program to reduce childhood obesity[ and the Kane County Behavioral Health Council, which oversees communicable disease monitoring and awareness, emergency preparedness, environmental health, and numerous community partnerships.

In her letter of resignation, Jeffers noted that her department has maintained a balanced budget annually. She said the Animal Control Department, which is also under her direction, is “one of the unknown jewels of our county health system” and has successfully turned around its financial position from being in the red to maintaining a balance budget.

Jeffers thanked Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen for granting her the opportunity to serve the residents of Kane County, as well as all the County Board members who have supported the Health Department through the years.

She gave special credit to the Health Department employees.

“Their performance during the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how essential their work is to the betterment and survival of our county,” she said.

In her letter, Jeffers said now is the time “to blaze the retirement trail with vigor.”

“Rest assured, I leave this Health Department in capable hands of the staff who are prepared and committed to continue the response to the pandemic and the work beyond,” she said.

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