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Chantell Harmon Reed starts new role as Director of Public Health

Experienced public health leader brings collaborative approach to Tacoma and Pierce County

Chantell Harmon Reed, a dynamic public health leader with decades of experience in public health, health care and business, begins her new role today as Director of Public Health at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

During women’s history month, Reed makes history as the first woman and first African American appointed to lead the local public health jurisdiction. A collaborative and innovative leader, Reed will focus on strengthening community partnerships to bring people together to achieve better local health outcomes.

“A community is only as good as our relationships,” said Reed. “I plan to leverage every available opportunity for us to do the work of improving community health together, through partnerships and collaborations. Together, we will make this the best place to live in not only Washington state, but in all of the United States.”

Reed credits past Director of Health Dr. Anthony L-T Chen for his work to build a strong foundation at the Health Department, and Interim Director Cindan Gizzi’s leadership over the past 9 months. “I am excited and ready to continue the legacy of their work.” One of her first job responsibilities will be to complete the final steps to select the next Health Officer for the Department.

Chantell Harmon Reed

Commitment to improving public health.

Reed was most recently the deputy director of the Public Health Division for the Multnomah County Health Department in Oregon where she focused on COVID-19 recovery efforts, infrastructure improvement, and achieving accreditation for the health department.

Before joining Multnomah County, she was the deputy director for the New Orleans Health Department where she led administration, including human resources, communications, strategic partnerships, and safety net programming.

Her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic was instrumental in organizing testing efforts and vaccination campaigns, contributing to New Orleans’ high vaccination rates. Reed has helped to close healthcare disparity gaps through efforts to improve maternal and infant mortality rates and create a doula workforce development program.

Reed’s commitment to community service is reflected in her involvement in numerous committees and boards, including the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute, the Loyola Center for Counseling and Education and the Oregon Public Health Association.

Ready to lead our community forward.

Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier and City of Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards made the appointment, and both City of Tacoma and Pierce County councils confirmed Reed’s appointment on Feb. 27.

“As I step into this role, I am committed to upholding the Department values of equity, integrity, respect, and leadership,” said Reed. “Our staff is ready to do the work. They are ready to serve this community. They are ready to build those partnerships. They are ready to do all the things that we know we can do to make this the best possible place to live.”

Reed is a doctoral candidate in public health at Tulane University, has a bachelor’s in business from Northwood University in Cedar Hill, Texas, and a master’s in healthcare management from the University of New Orleans.

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