Fleming to resign as Public Health Seattle & King County director

Dr. David Fleming, director of Public Health Seattle & King County. - COURTESY PHOTO, King County
Dr. David Fleming, director of Public Health Seattle & King County.
— image credit: COURTESY PHOTO, King County

Dr. David Fleming will step down as director of Public Health – Seattle & King County on Aug. 11.

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said Monday they will begin the search for a new director. Fleming has agreed to stay on during the transition on an interim basis as county health officer, according to a county media release.

“I’ve been honored to serve as director and health officer for more than seven years. After a lot of thought, I’ve come to the realization that my personal plans and needs don’t allow me to make the long-term leadership commitment that this organization now requires,” said Fleming in the media release. “As a department, we’re going through an enormous transformation in response to budget challenges and changing community needs. My highest priority is that the department has the long-term, stable leadership that will be needed to implement and see these changes through.”

Under an interlocal agreement that merged the city and county health departments in 1951, Public Health – Seattle & King County serves both the county and the city. The county health officer has the statutory duty of protecting and improving the health and well-being of all people in King County.

“I congratulate David on his accomplishments, and thank him for his service to transform public health and establish a strong foundation upon which we will continue to build,” Constantine said. “During his tenure, we helped more than 165,000 King County residents sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, reduced youth obesity by 17 percent in participating King County schools, and established King County as the region with the world’s best survival rate for cardiac arrests.”

Constantine appointed Patty Hayes, director of the Community Health Services Division in Public Health, to serve as interim director of Public Health beginning Aug. 11. Hayes has worked in health care and public policy as a nurse, academic, consultant and administrator in both the public and private sectors for more than 30 years.

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