The Virginia Department of Health has filled the director position at the New River Health District with a familiar face.
Dr. Molly O’Dell, the former director of the Roanoke and Alleghany Health District for 19 years, will sit at the helm in New River beginning April 1.
“Molly is a wonderful addition to the community of health directors and will be a real asset to VDH,” said Jeff Lake, deputy state health commissioner, in an e-mail congratulating O’Dell and announcing the hire internally.
O’Dell left the Roanoke/Alleghany position in 2006 to move to Omaha, Neb. with her husband. She returned to Roanoke last year to serve as the medical director for New Horizons Healthcare, the Roanoke federally qualified health center she had previously helped establish.
O’Dell takes over for Dr. Jody Hershey, who retired in January after being the face of public health for the district for 15 years. In announcing his departure, Hershey said that he was leaving because a family health crisis requires his immediate attention.
The New River Health District serves Floyd, Giles, Montgomery and Pulaski counties, the towns within those counties and the city of Radford with health promotion, disease prevention and environmental services.