Virginia Department of Health Announces Acting Health Directors (While Recruiting New Health Directors)

October 1, 2021

Media Contact: Larry Hill, public information officer, Eastern Region,

Virginia Department of Health Announces Acting Health Directors (While Recruiting New Health Directors)

(Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk Va.) – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) would like to recognize multiple public health physicians in providing Acting Health Director coverage for Health Districts serving Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Western Tidewater (City of Suffolk, Franklin, and Counties of Isle of White and Southampton).

Dr. Nancy Welch, District Director for Chesapeake Health District assumed the Acting Health Director role for the Virginia Beach Health District from Dr. Parham Jaberi on August 25, 2021. Dr. Jaberi who is also the Chief Deputy Commissioner for Community Health Services for VDH has been covering the district along with the Norfolk Health District since April of this year.   This effort is intended to herald the separation of the Virginia Beach and Norfolk Health Departments under two separate health directors.  Dr. Jaberi will continue to serve as the Acting Health Director for the Norfolk Health District at this time.

More recently on September 10, 2021, upon the separation of Dr. Lauren James, District Director of the Portsmouth Health District from VDH in her pursuit of other clinical opportunities within the Commonwealth, Dr. Jaberi also assumed Acting District Director responsibilities for Portsmouth Health District.  Given various state responsibilities and his work in Richmond, Dr. Jaberi has also asked Dr. Annie Williams, Deputy Director for the Norfolk Health Department to assist him by providing Medical Direction and oversight to Portsmouth Health District clinical operations.

On September 29, 2021, Dr. Todd Wagner, District Director of Western Tidewater Health District also concluded his service with VDH.  Subsequently, Dr. Billie Blair-Taylor, Deputy Director for Chesapeake Health District began her service as the Acting District Director for Western Tidewater Health District to include full oversight of local health department clinical operations.

VDH began recruitment of permanent district directors for Virginia Beach and Norfolk Health Departments in July.  Multiple first-round screening interviews with VDH leadership have been completed.  Successful candidates will next be afforded an opportunity for in-person or virtual interviews with local government and community leaders.  The more recent Portsmouth and Western Tidewater Health District vacancies have also been posted and recruitment for permanent health directors are underway.

“Providing leadership to local public health departments during a pandemic has been challenging” said Dr. Parham Jaberi, who will also supervise the local health directors once hired, “however, VDH is committed to identifying high quality public health professionals who will be able to respond to community needs while also helping VDH to augment and refine its service delivery in the post-pandemic era.”

Physicians who currently have or are eligible to receive a full, unrestricted medical license in the Commonwealth of Virginia are welcome to apply at  Ideal candidates will also have advanced degrees in public health, healthcare management, business administration, or other related fields and/or prior experience with public health or population health services at the local, state or federal level.  Candidates interested in the Norfolk or Virginia Beach Health District Director positions specifically can visit for more information.

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