Clinton County Health District names new medical advisor

By Gary Huffenberger - [email protected]

WIC Director Renee Quallen talks about how the newly hired dietitian will work remotely.

WIC Director Renee Quallen talks about how the newly hired dietitian will work remotely.

Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

WILMINGTON — The Clinton County Health Department (CCHD) has named a new medical advisor, succeeding Dr. Terry Holten who retired, and it also has hired a registered dietitian who will work remotely from Tennessee.

Steven J. Englender, M.D. of Cincinnati has a master’s degree in public health from the University of California in addition to the doctor of medicine (M.D.).

Most recently, he’s been Director at the Center for Public Health Preparedness, Cincinnati Health Department, from April 2004 to December 2018. And he was State Epidemiologist, Director, Division of Epidemiology and Health Planning, Kentucky Department for Public Health, from July 2001 to April 2004.

Englender has been published in The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, and three times in the American Journal of Public Health.

Though his title of medical advisor with the Clinton County Health Department differs from Dr. Holten his predecessor whose title was medical director, Clinton County Health Commissioner Pam Walker-Bauer said the roles are similar.

The biggest difference, added Walker-Bauer, is that Dr. Holten was paid hourly in her role as medical director. Holten also conducted data analysis which the Clinton County Health Department now has its contract epidemiologist perform.

Englender began his working relationship as medical advisor for the Clinton County Health District in February.

On Monday, the Clinton County Board of Health approved a remote work policy document specific to the WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) dietitian position. On Tuesday, Rachel Eichholtz of Lenoir City, Tennessee accepted a formal offer for the job.

Eichholtz has a combined Master of Science in Nutrition, and Master of Public Health. Clinton County Health District’s WIC Director Renee Quallen said Eichholtz has a high interest in diabetes during pregnancy.

In drafting a remote work policy for a WIC public health professional, Quallen said they built on Franklin County’s remote work policy and other similar documents.

Quallen said there were no applicants from Clinton County or “anywhere close to this area of Ohio” for the position.

Moreover, finding a dietitian has traditionally been difficult in this area, especially in the public health sector because of the compensation that public health agencies can offer compared to a hospital system, she said.

Eichholtz does have Ohio ties, having grown up in Pickerington in central Ohio and earning her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Ashland University in Ohio.

Walker-Bauer said, “We could tell in the interview it will be a good cultural fit [with Clinton County].”

The WIC dietitian will work 21 hours a week for the Clinton County Health District. Eichholtz will conduct the phone interview for the health assessment piece, and do risk code and food package assignments.

The height/weight informational piece will be done with Quallen in person at the local health department offices when that requirement returns.

Plans are for Eichholtz to come to Wilmington for her first week of employment, when she will pick up technical gear, meet the county health department staffers in person, and receive some training here.

In a research project under the auspices of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that studied in-person and phone-based consultations at WIC centers in New York City before and during COVID, the July 2021 Research Brief said key findings included that “waiving the in-person requirement for most appointments supports participation in the WIC program: the ‘no-show’ rate was reduced by 45 percent;” and “participants reported that they receive high-quality consultations over the phone.”

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

WIC Director Renee Quallen talks about how the newly hired dietitian will work remotely. Director Renee Quallen talks about how the newly hired dietitian will work remotely. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal Huffenberger | News Journal

By Gary Huffenberger

[email protected]