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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane County commissioners could pick a naturopathic doctor for Board of Health

Spokane County commissioners appear poised to appoint a naturopathic doctor to one of the vacant seats on the Spokane Regional Health District’s Board of Health.

On Monday, the four existing Board of Health members began a lengthy interview process that will end with the selection of three new members. Eight final candidates were interviewed for the public health and medical provider vacancy on the health board.

Spokane County commissioners in November voted to dissolve and reform the Board of Health in order to comply with a new state law that requires health boards to have an equal number of elected and unelected representatives.

The new board will have eight members. Each of the three commissioners gets a seat, and Spokane County’s cities have one representative. The commissioners chose Millwood Mayor Kevin Freeman for that role during this first iteration of the new health board.

The other four seats have to be filled with individuals who represent categories outlined in state law. One representative will be appointed by the American Indian Health Commission; the commissioners and Freeman get to pick the other three. In addition to the medical provider and public health category, Washington law requires one community stakeholder representative and one consumer of public health representative.

Following roughly three hours of interviews Monday, it became clear that the commissioners and Freeman have sharply contrasting ideas of who’s qualified for the public health and medical provider category.

Freeman said he’d like either Dr. Monica Blykowski-May or Denise Smart, who has a doctorate in public health, to serve in the role. Both Blykowski-May and Smart have decades of experience in health care.

The commissioners’ favorite candidates were naturopathic doctors.

Commissioners Mary Kuney, Al French and Josh Kerns all named Alycia Policani and Jason Kinley among their finalists. Both have doctorate degrees in naturopathic medicine and currently work as naturopathic physicians. Kinley served on the health board during the past two years.

While those two candidates appeared on all of the commissioners’ final lists, other candidates appear to still be in the running.

French said he’d be happy if Andrea Frostad, a dental hygienist who has served on the Board of Health during the past four years, joined the new board.

Kerns named Dr. Daniel Repsold, a physician at Excelsior Family Medicine, among his favorites.

Kuney, like Freeman, listed Blykowski-May among her finalists.

On Tuesday morning, the commissioners and Freeman will interview candidates for the community stakeholder and consumer of public health categories.

Following those interviews, the four health board members will decide on final recommendations for the three vacancies.

Those recommendations will be passed on to the county commissioners for final approval.

If there’s a tie among the four current board members, the three county commissioners will vote to break the tie.