Alumnus named Chatham County health director

January 19, 2021

Mike Zelek

Mike Zelek

Mike Zelek, MPH, was named Chatham County health director in late November 2020.

He had served as interim health director since June 2020 and was appointed following a unanimous vote by the Chatham County Board of Health.

“Mike has done an outstanding job over the last several months, and the Board is thrilled Mike has accepted this role,” said Chatham County Board of Health Chair Carol Reitz-Barlow. “Mike is committed to health equity and moving forward with a diverse and equitable Health Department that recognizes the needs of Chatham County.”

Over the past eight years, Zelek has served as a social research associate and health promotion & policy division director. As interim director, he has already guided the department’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has worked to advance health equity and adapted to a recent cyber-security incident.

“I am honored to serve as Chatham County’s Health Director, and am grateful to the Board of Health for its support,” he said. “I consider myself very fortunate to work with such a highly dedicated and skilled team in a community that values the important role of public health.”

Zelek’s appointment follows the retirement of the previous health director Layton Long, who served in the role for the past six-and-a-half years and is the result of a search that covered multiple states and counties.

Zelek holds a Master of Public Health degree from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health Department of Health Behavior. He has also participated in the N.C. Public Health Leadership Institute, as a research assistant for the N.C. Institute for Public Health, and in the Kresge Emerging Leaders in Public Health program.


Contact the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at sphcomm@unc.edu.

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