Health District seeking new commissioner

Champaign County leader headed for Delaware job.

Shelia Hiddleson will resign her position as Champaign health commissioner on Dec. 28. She will accept a similar position in Deleware County beginning next year, which she said will present new challenges as she tries to manage that organization.

Hiddleson served as director of nursing for the Clark County Combined Health District before taking over as commissioner in Champaign County in 2005. She was the first full-time health commissioner for the county. While the office was effective when she started, Hiddleson said there was little internal structure within the organization, including no evaluation system for employees.

With her children in college, Hiddleson said it was a good time to move on.

“I think our health district is on a good path,” she said.

Board members are seeking a new commissioner, and the position has been posted on the health district’s web site. Board members for the district did not return calls seeking comment.

The health district has completed significant projects, including a recent community health assessment that identified the county’s most significant health issues. The health district is working with several community organizations to find ways to address those issues, including obesity and mental health for adults and children.

The requirements to manage a health district have changed in recent years, Hiddleson said, so the next health commissioner will have to understand a more complicated process for seeking grants, along with constantly evolving technology among other issues.

As more medical information is available electronically, the health district has been able to respond quicker for items like tracking a communicable disease, but there are also higher expectations for health departments.

“We have a much quicker turnaround and we are expected to have a much quicker turnaround than 7 years ago,” Hiddleson said.

She also said other elected officials and staff members have made her job easier and have always found ways to work together to serve the community.

“I think that’s the attitude we have here in the community,” Hiddleson said.

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