Dr. Jonathan Fielding announced plans Thursday to retire after 16 years as director of the Los Angeles County Health Department.
Fielding announced in a letter to colleagues that he will leave office when a successor is selected. He plans to return to UCLA, where he is a professor in the Schools of Medicine and Public Health, he said in the letter.
"It has been a great pleasure to work with each and every one of you over the years," Fielding wrote to staff members. With your assistance as Public Health Ambassadors, together we have changed the capacity and face of public health in the most populous county in the nation. Due to your commitment to mission, drive, and hard work to improve health in our county, your Department is viewed as one of the best local health departments in the nation."
Fielding has overseen a department of about 4,000 staff members responsible for a county of nearly 10 million people. He also serves as vice-chair of the First 5 Commission, which grants money to improve the health of children.
No timeline to select the next director has been released.
"Dr. Fielding's accomplishments in improving the health and safety of our residents are simply too long to list," county CEO Bill Fujioka tweeted.
Fielding was appointed to lead the health department in 2006, the same year the county public health department was established as a separate agency from the Department of Health Services.
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