Jeanne Bock, who has directed the Panhandle Health District since 2001, will retire this fall after 24 years of public health service in Idaho’s five northern counties.
The Board of Health accepted her retirement notice Thursday and plans to hire her successor by August.
Bock led the health district during a time in which it helped end a decades-old practice of residents discharging household waste directly into Shoshone County’s Canyon Creek. That achievement resulted from from a collaborative effort involving the health district, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Shoshone County commissioners and Burke Canyon residents, a health district news release said.
She also oversaw the creation of Idaho’s first and only Aquifer Protection District, which was proposed in order to protect drinking water in perpetuity. Also on her watch, the Panhandle Public Health Foundation was created, now called Project Health, with former director, Kay Kindig. The foundation raises money to support programs that promote public health, the release said. This year, a benefit bike ride, called Pedalin’ for Project Health, is scheduled for June 5.
Bock is a Coeur d’Alene native who earned her master’s degree in nursing from Whitworth College. She joined the health district in 1986 as a home health nurse in Sandpoint. She was honored by the state in 1996, as director of the health district’s Family and Community Health Division, for her work raising immunization rates.
Bock will leave the district at the end of October.
The new director will face the challenge of preserving health district as they now exist in Idaho, said Board of Health Chairman Marlow Thompson.
“Legislators forget that other states look at Idaho’s public health district system with envy,” he said. “We need someone who understands the mission of public health, someone for the long haul with experience and a track record. A lot Jeanne has done will make it easier for her successor.”