PHOENIX — A first of its kind position is putting a magnifying glass on public health in the City of Phoenix. The city’s first public health advisor, Nicole Witt, is now about three months into the job. Witt joined the team in the middle of October 2022 and said people who live in the city will soon begin to hear from her department.
With a deep background in public health, Witt is digging her hands into a brand new position. There is no playbook for operating in her new role.
Phoenix city council approved the position back in April of 2022. When COVID-19 hit the Valley, Phoenix said they hired professional consulting services to assist in their public health efforts. That move, in part, led to the first ever public health advisor position.
Today, Witt said she’s spending time meeting with different departments within the city to determine her game plan for public health management in Phoenix.
"Public health is a lot of things, so it will take time to determine where is the best place to start," Witt said. "So some of that right now is in that engaging, collecting, listening."
Among Witt’s list of top goals are first health literacy which was highlighted during the pandemic. Witt added she’s working closely with the Phoenix office of homeless solutions and the opioid crisis in the Valley.
Witt said there is urgency in her planning. Right now, she’s working across city departments to develop local public health objectives.
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