Written by Lance Leonhard
The Marathon County Health Department has a new Health Officer, Laura Scudiere. Following a national search, Laura was selected to be Marathon County’s next Health Officer. She officially began her duties on September 2, following the retirement of Joan Theurer. While Laura is new to her role, she is familiar with the work of the health department, having joined the team just two weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Prior to joining Marathon County, Laura worked as the Human Services Executive of North Central Health Care and as the Executive Director of Bridge Community Health Clinic. She has a Master of Public Health from Ohio State University’s School of Medicine and Public Health and a Bachelor of Philosophy from Miami University (in Ohio).
Q. What interested you in working for Marathon County?
Marathon County is my home. I’ve lived here for the last 15 years and moved here from Chicago when my husband took a job here. When we moved to Wausau, I remember meeting with then-Health Officer Julie Willems Van Dyke, in hopes of joining the health department team. She wasn’t hiring at the time but pointed me to Bridge Community Health Clinic, where I was hired and soon became the Executive Director. I loved the Bridge Clinic because they believe that everyone should have access to health, dental, and mental health care, regardless of their income.
After eight years with the Bridge Clinic, I moved to North Central Health Care (NCHC) because I was interested in growing and developing as a leader. I was at NCHC for four years as an executive before I made the move to the Health Department as a health educator. Prior to joining the Health Department, I served on the Marathon County Board of Health for eight years and learned a great deal about the county through that work. Working in service to improve the lives of our fellow community members was very fulfilling, and I continue to find fulfillment in my work with Marathon County as I partner with others to improve the health of our shared community.
Q. What are a few things most people don’t realize are functions of the Health Department?
The interesting thing about the COVID pandemic is that everybody seems to have a way better understanding of public health than they did in 2019. As the Health Department, our mission is to advance a healthy Marathon County community by preventing disease, promoting health, and protecting the public from environmental hazards. These past two years, our team has been largely focused on COVID mitigation, which centers on isolation, quarantine, vaccinations, and testing. While public health has a large role in the prevention of communicable diseases like COVID, we also license restaurants and pools, conduct well-water testing, provide referrals for kids with special health care needs, administer immunizations, provide support for pregnant and newly postnatal mothers, and assist in developing the community’s health assessment and plan.
Q. While you’re not at work, what do you like to do in your free time?
I like to knit and spin my own yarn, take spin classes on my bike at home, and bake with my son. In addition, I enjoy playing video games and dabbling in painting portraits. I make up for my lack of talent in these pursuits with just sheer unbridled enthusiasm. In general, most of my free time is taken up with nursing school or researching vaccine hesitancy with colleagues.
We hope to get our research published this year. I’m pursuing my nursing degree because, while it’s not required for my role, it’s a good professional development activity that will enhance my work. It also helps that I simply love it.
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I look forward to Laura’s leadership as our Health Officer. Her wealth of knowledge and passion for public health will be instrumental in moving us closer to our goal of being the Safest, Healthiest, and Most Prosperous county in Wisconsin.
Marathon County Administrator
Lance Leonhard began his career in Marathon County Government in the Office of Corporation Counsel. He then served as Deputy Administrator and currently serves as the Marathon County Administrator. Lance’s career in public service has spanned more than a decade, having worked for the federal government as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and for the state of Wisconsin as an Assistant District Attorney. Outside of work, you’re likely to find Lance spending time with his family, traveling, teeing off on a local golf course, or sitting around a campfire with friends. Email Lance Leonhard
You might also like…
- Health Officer Joan Theurer to Explore New Adventures :: Saying Farewell to a Leader Who Has Always Made it a Priority for Marathon County to be the Healthiest, Safest, and Most Prosperous
- Meet Laurie Miskimins :: Marathon County’s New Conservation, Planning & Zoning Director
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