Calandra Green has been named the new Oakland County Health Officer, succeeding Leigh-Anne Stafford, currently Oakland County Health and Human Services Director. Stafford held both jobs while the post of health worker was vacant.
“Leigh-Anne has been a powerful motivator and inspirational leader to all of us in the Health Division,” said Green, adding that Stafford is a “phenomenal mentor and coach and has shown that, over the past two years, managing through COVID.”
County Executive Dave Coulter announced the appointment Tuesday afternoon.
“Calandra shares our vision of having public health rooted in the community,” Coulter said. “As we move into a new phase of the pandemic, his knowledge, skills and commitment are what we need to advance public health to achieve our strategic goal of healthy residents.”
Green is the first woman of color to lead the Oakland County Health Division.
County officials praise her leadership as integral to the success of the county’s school nurse program, as well as the establishment of church COVID-19 testing sites since the pandemic began.
Green said she hopes to build on the base, support county health workers and work as a county advocate, “working for a healthier community.”
She joined Oakland County as a Public Health Nurse in August 2019. When the pandemic began in March 2020, she became the Health Division’s Quality and Process Improvement Supervisor. of Oakland County. Her duties included acting as a COVID-19 School Liaison Nurse. She has hired, trained and deployed 68 nurses in 28 public school districts and 125 private or charter schools.
The pandemic, which “has kind of turned our world upside down,” she said, has also delivered a very clear message that not everyone wants the government to tell them “how to behave in a way that respects public health and keeps people safe.” As with everything, you’re not going to have 100% participation or support. »
Protecting public health, Green said, “is not a single decision that I make. It’s a decision that the county makes, which is supported by all levels of government… We may not all like the recommendations and requirements that we must follow, but everything is to protect public health.
“You have to be brave, but being a nurse for the last 28 years of my life – that seems like a normal transition to serving public health,” she said.
In May 2021, Green was named Oakland County Administrator for Public Health, developing and managing comprehensive countywide programs. In this role, she organized the mental health response in Oxford, after the 2021 high school shooting, and then across the county.
“I believe we need to do a better job of listening and watching for clues that someone is suffering in silence or in crisis. They are two very different things,” she said, adding that she plans to strengthen the county’s ties with existing support services, such as Easter Seals, Oakland Community Mental Health Network, Common Ground and others.
Green was born and raised in the Pontiac and graduated from Pontiac Schools.
She earned her nursing credentials from Oakland Community College, then earned a bachelor’s degree in health services administration from Baker College, followed by a master’s degree in business education. She earned a Post-Masters Certificate in Lean Leadership from Oakland University and a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership.
From 1993 to 2007, she worked for North Oakland Medical Centers in Pontiac, as Manager of Obstetrics and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit from 2004 to 2007. She worked for McLaren Health Care in Pontiac from 2007 to 2018, where she rose from Manager of Patient Care Services to Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer.
OU honored Green with the Nightingale Award for Excellence in Community Nursing in 2021.
Her sense of community, she said, is something she hopes to continue to use in her new role. She and her husband, Charles, a trucker, are Pontiac residents.
Coulter’s goal for residents includes the birth of healthy babies, improving access to health care for all, resources for community mental health, and ensuring the availability of services and programs for seniors.
“I am blessed to receive this nomination and honored that Mr. Coulter and his leadership team have offered me, a woman of color, the opportunity to advance these values,” she said.
Among its priorities is the fight against infant mortality. Between 2010 and 2019, the latest figures available, https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdhhs/PR10_RPQC_Data_Meeting_Final_664121_7.pdf Michigan’s infant mortality rate is 6.4%, while Oakland’s is 7.2%. The rate is highest for mothers under 20. Part of that has to do with poverty, lack of transportation and other support services, especially in the Pontiac, she said.
County programs she plans to focus on include the visiting nurse program for mothers less than 30 weeks pregnant, making sure they can get to doctor’s appointments, accessing housing, medicines, groceries and travel cribs. Too many infant deaths are linked to unsafe sleep practices, she said. The basic advice is that babies sleep on their backs, in cradles, with nothing in the crib, instead of sleeping with their parents. She wants to educate moms, dads and grandparents on this issue, as part of the county program safe sleep program. https://www.oakgov.com/health/partnerships/Documents/17-058_Safe%20Sleep%20Ad%202017.pdf
One way she hopes to get the messages out to area residents is to meet people where they are.
“It’s important for us to have a footprint in the community, not to be behind a building,” she says.