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Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris announces plans to retire

Harris will retire at the end of the year. Current deputy public health director Dr. Raynard Washington will serve as the next public health director.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Gibbie Harris, one of the most influential resources during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mecklenburg County, has announced her plans to retire at the end of the year. 

Harris, who serves as the public health director for the county, made the announcement on July 7 at the Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners meeting. 

“It has been an honor to serve as the county’s health director over the past five years,” Harris said in a statement. “I have had the distinct pleasure of working alongside many dedicated and hard-working public health staff, volunteers, and partners during my time here. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to serve the Mecklenburg community with them and, more importantly, the outstanding jobs and important work they have done and continue to do every day.”

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Harris served as the public health director for nearly four years. During the meeting, County Manager Dena Diorio made the announcement that Dr. Raynard Washington, the current deputy public health director, will serve as the next public health director when Harris retires.

“Gibbie is a true public health professional who has worked to bring competency, leadership, respect, and trust to Public Health in Mecklenburg County,” Diorio said in a statement. “Thanks to her leadership, we have truly been able to help improve the quality of life for our residents. I wish her and her family the best of luck.”

Washington will take over the role at the start of 2022. He has served as second-in-command for the department for the past 16 months. 

“I’m honored to have been chosen for this role,” Washington in a statement. “It has been a privilege to serve with an incredible team of public health professionals in our department over the past year. We strive every day to protect and improve the health of our community and make good health possible for everyone. I’m looking forward to continuing to work together in serving the residents of Mecklenburg County.”

During her time as public health director, Harris has provided leadership for the county response to the pandemic, addressed the hepatitis A outbreak, developed and implemented a community HIV prevention plan, and more. 

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