photo by: Robert A. DeFrank
The Belmont County Board of Health is saying goodbye to its newest member, following board member Stacey Brown-Brocklehurst’s announcement Monday that she will resign due to the illness of a family member.
Brown-Brocklehurst was appointed to the board in January, filling the seat vacated by Jamie Betts who resigned to become director of the county’s Community Access, Resources, Education and Solutions, or CARES, program of Belmont, which connects residents to available resources. There are four years left in the term.
Brown-Brocklehurst, a physician at WVU Medicine St. Clairsville Health Center and board certified in family and sports medicine, said she enjoyed her time on the board.
“I am presenting to the board my letter of resignation,” Brown-Brocklehurst said at the close of the Nov. 13 meeting, saying the demands of her relative’s illness have impacted her effectiveness as Member of the Board of Directors. “I just don’t feel like I can effectively dedicate the time needed to this position. Thank you for this opportunity. I’m sorry to go, but it’s difficult.
She will remain on the board for 90 days until a replacement member can be found.
“I’ll be there,” she said.
She commented further after the meeting.
“This was my first experience as a board member, so I learned a lot about being a board member in general, and I regret having to resign because I think that the Ministry of Health and the health council are evolving in a very positive direction. management and I would like to be part of it. However, with my personal life and professional obligations, I am not able to dedicate the time that I believe is necessary to be an effective board member,” she said.
Brown-Brocklehurst said good qualities of a future board member include interpersonal skills and an awareness of the role the health department plays in the county.
“I think someone who owns their own business or has business experience would be a great asset to the board,” she said.
Deputy Health Commissioner Robert Sproul said the board appreciates his contributions.
“She brought a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge, a lot of energy. It’s hard to see her go, it really is,” he said.
He said the board would not look for specific experience in a new member to replace Brown-Brocklehurst.
“She was a doctor, but we already had a doctor with Dr. (Renato) DelaCruz. On the board, you have to have at least one doctor, so with him leaving, we still have Dr. DelaCruz,” Sproul said.
He added that the council will contact the district advisory committee that covers townships and towns and let them know there is a vacancy on the council. Sproul said the term has four years remaining and the department hopes to fill the position within 90 days.
“They will call a special meeting to accept applications and make an appointment with the board to fill his spot. Basically, they will finish his term,” he said. “These are five-year terms.”
Separately, the council also noted that Lyme disease has increased over the past year, likely due to warmer weather. Sproul said there have been 207 cases so far in 2023. July was the worst month, going from 28 cases in June to 73 cases, but the number of cases has since increased to 42, then 20, then nine in the following months as winter approaches.
Health Commissioner Tamara Hess said cases were three times higher than in previous years. She said cases are not concentrated in any particular area and advises the public to take precautions and cover up when outdoors.
Sproul added that ticks are still active and said deer hunters should be alert for deer ticks even in winter.
“Thankfully our numbers are down, which is a good thing. We just hope they stay that way,” he added.
The council office is located at 68501 Bannock-Uniontown Road, St. Clairsville. The telephone number is 740-695-1202.