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Health director seat still vacant

After nearly four months without a permanent director for the Western Tidewater Health District, the area will have to wait a little longer still for the position to be filled.

Interviews will be conducted July 29 for the position vacated by Dr. Lisa McCoy in March. McCoy took a position as medical director for the Norfolk Health District.

Larry Hill, Eastern region public information officer for the Virginia Department of Health, said representatives from the local health districts will be involved in the hiring process. He wouldn’t speculate on how long it could be before a permanent director is hired.

“It’s hard to say, because a lot of it depends on who the individual is and when they can get here,” Hill said. “I wouldn’t even want to begin to speculate.”

Though the state faced a multitude of budget challenges this year, Hill said, the time lapse in filling the position was not related to funding woes.

“That’s one position that probably would not be cut from the budget,” he said.

In the interim, Dr. Nancy Welch has handled the operations of the health district, which includes Suffolk, Franklin, and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties.

“I would surely like to get somebody on board soon, too,” Hill said, adding, “Dr. Welch would be the happiest one.”

McCoy had been with the Western Tidewater district for about three and a half years. Her new position in Norfolk involves working with medical and public health students at Eastern Virginia Medical School and handling the department’s services for pediatric and adolescent patients.

“It’s a very different perspective on the health care practice,” McCoy said in March. “It’s a different approach to caring for patients.”