KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department has announced Dr. Sherri Young, DO, FAAFP, Executive Director and Chief Health Officer, will be leaving the health department to pursue a new opportunity.

Young has led the county’s health officials through the pandemic for more than 450 days since before the virus was first detected in Kanawha County on March 21, 2020. She also helped to lead the Unified Health Command that includes KCHD, the Kanawha County Commission, the City of Charleston, and the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority which the KCHD says was formed on March 2, 2020, to work hand-in-hand with municipalities, first responder agencies and hospitals in the county to combat the then-approaching pandemic.

Through Young’s leadership, the KCHD says Kanawha County became the first in the state to begin testing patients at long-term care facilities for COVID-19 to curb mass outbreaks at the facilities. She has also been a leader in the KCHD’s effort to get COVID-19 vaccinations into the arms of county residents as quickly as possible, organizing large-scale vaccination clinics at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

“When I became the Executive Director and Chief Health Officer of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, I never dreamed we would be faced with a pandemic that would affect the entire world.  We have lost so many lives to this devastating situation.  I believe I have done everything I can to lead the Health Department through the pandemic and move it forward successfully.  I have enjoyed my time with the Health Department and my focus on saving lives.  I was presented with an opportunity that I could not pass up, and for that reason, I am leaving my position.  I will remain on as Interim Chief Health Officer while the Board conducts a search for a new Health Officer,” stated Dr. Sherri Young, Executive Director, and Chief Health Officer. 

Young was first employed by the KCHD on July 1, 2019. When Young first joined the KCHD, she focused on immunizing children with their vaccinations needed for school and providing the flu vaccination to as many people as she could reach.

Young was also one of WOWK’s four local finalists for Nexstar’s Remarkable Women in February 2020. She was nominated for being a trail blaizer in the field, including becoming the first woman named as Director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department in West Virginia.

“Dr. Young has been my student, a friend, and a colleague throughout the years.  She is an exceptional person.  She has done a remarkable job as the Chief Health Officer for the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department,” said Dr. Art Rubin, President of the KCHD Board of Directors. “No one has worked harder than she has during this pandemic.  Dr.  Young dedicated over 450 days managing the pandemic, and most days worked 18-20 hours a day taking care of the citizens of Kanawha County.  Her service to the City and County is unwavering, and we all owe her a debt of gratitude.” 

The KCHD says Dr. Young will remain as Interim Health Officer until the Executive Director and Health Officer is hired.