Tulsa, OK – (Tulsa, OK) After fourteen years as Director and forty years at the Tulsa Health Department, Director Gary Cox has announced his resignation effective September 30, 2009. Mr. Cox has accepted a position as the Director of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department. "I would like to thank the Board of Health, employees, and community for their support and for the great accomplishments to serve this community. I am especially proud of our Emergency Preparedness program, our school health program, our successful efforts to improve health outcomes for mothers and children, tobacco prevention, and our emphasis on wellness and prevention of disease." stated Gary Cox.
"Gary Cox has been a great asset to the Tulsa community. The Tulsa Health Department recently became the first local health department in the nation to be accredited by a multi-state accreditation board solidifying Tulsa's reputation as one of the top ranked health departments in the country. Much of the credit for that recognition can be given to Gary and his strong vision and leadership." stated Tulsa City-County Board of Health Chair Rik Helmerich.
Gary Cox began his career at the Tulsa Health Department in 1969 as an Environmentalist. He has endeavored to give back to his community and profession by serving as Adjunct Professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law and Visiting Associate Professor at the OU College of Public Health. He also served as Assistant Director of the Tulsa Health Department before becoming Director in 1995. He is the immediate past President of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), an organization representing over 3,000 local health departments across the nation.
Long-time Board of Health member Jim Goodwin observed "Gary and I started our association with Tulsa Health Department within a year of each other. Under Director Dr. George Protho's leadership, Gary and I learned the importance of public health. More than a decade after Dr. Protho left the department, when Gary Cox became our director, he focused the board on the importance of disease prevention as a core public health function. He boosted employee morale, brought greater fiscal responsibility to the department, expanded its plant facilities and its services. Our loss is Oklahoma County's gain. Better yet, as he confronts the challenges of Oklahoma County, just as Tulsa benefited, Oklahoma County will benefit. Oklahoma will be a better place in public health because of him."
The Tulsa City-County Board of Health has formed a search committee and will conduct a national search to identify Mr. Cox's replacement.