Allegheny County Health Department – Letter to the Chief Executive of Allegheny County

Mr. Richard Fitzgerald

County Executive

Allegheny County Courthouse

436 Grant Street, Room 101

Pittsburgh, PA   15219


Dear Mr. Fitzgerald:


With the change in leadership of the Allegheny County Health Department, the Allegheny County Medical Society suggests criteria and qualities that we believe are important to identify in the individual chosen to serve as Director.


Given the scope of responsibilities embodied in the Department, it is critical that a well qualified individual be selected to lead and provide direction to the Department.  The Health Department has a wide area of responsibility and has been well regarded by physicians from a medical viewpoint for the work that they do.  The Department plays an important role in safeguarding and improving the public health of the citizens of our community.

A wide range of health experience, including epidemiology, child and maternal health, cancer control, immunization, sexually transmitted diseases, public sanitation, food safety, and environmental toxins  will be vital to the Director’s ability to effectively lead the Department.  The impact of the gas drilling industry has placed an added emphasis on the need to understand the issues involved and possible effect upon the region’s air and water supply.


The Director is required to work with a wide variety of people, often with conflicting objectives.  It will be important that this individual understand the scientific and medical literature and have the ability to
translate that information into a realistic approach to solving real life problems in a manner that protects public health.  A collegial and collaborative approach is highly desirable, as well as a knowledge of, and willingness to engage with, the research and scientific knowledge base that we are fortunate to have in Allegheny County.


Please consider the Society a resource to the Board of Health and the Director.  We are available to assist you and the Department.


Dr. Dixon has been well regarded by physicians for his clinical and scientific knowledge, and as an educator.  He has served the County and the citizens of the region well in many areas over a long career. He has been widely recognized for the leadership and many positive accomplishments of the Department.  We believe that it would be appropriate to recognize that service, and hope that you will consider doing so.



Rajiv R. Varma, MD


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Allegheny County Medical Society
713 Ridge Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15212
412-321-5030  FAX 412-321-5323