Metro-East News

Deputy director to lead St. Clair County Health Department

Barb Hohlt, St. Clair County Health Dept

Barb Hohlt discusses becoming the next executive director of the St. Clair County Health Department. She starts the job on July 1, when she replaces Kevin Hutchison.
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Barb Hohlt discusses becoming the next executive director of the St. Clair County Health Department. She starts the job on July 1, when she replaces Kevin Hutchison.

St. Clair County Health Department Deputy Executive Director Barb Hohlt has been named the next executive director of the department.

Hohlt was appointed on Tuesday by St. Clair County Board of Health to replace Kevin Hutchison, who is leaving the department on July 1.

The Belleville resident will earn $100,000 a year.

She started her career in 1984 with the Bond County Health Department. When Hohlt joined the St. Clair County Health Department in 1986, she started as a sanitarian conducting food inspections and private water supply inspections, looking into nuisance complaints and inspecting private sewage disposal.

Hohlt has moved up in the St. Clair County Health Department. Prior to being appointed deputy executive director in January, she served as director of health protection and oversaw the administration of health protection programs such as environmental health, environmental protection, infectious disease control and emergency management. She oversaw a staff of 22 people.

“She has been a tremendous asset to the department, and we look forward to working with her,” said Tracey Biermann, the president of the St. Clair County Board of Health.

Hohlt said there are many challenges in public health everyday.

“We need safe food; we need to protect ourselves from infectious diseases,” Hohlt said. “Education is such a big piece of what we do for the public ... to take care of ourselves, take care of our children, as we take care of each other.”

During her time with the department, Hohlt helped it become a certified local health department and receive accreditation from the Public Health Accreditation Board. She also helped increase the environmental health division programs and services to include vector control, tanning inspections, tattoo and body art inspections, smoke free enforcement, emergency preparedness and response, ground water protection and the Medical Reserve Corp.

Hutchison said he had been grooming Hohlt for the job, as she had been the designated person in charge when he was out of the office.

“I have great confidence in her abilities,” he said.

Hohlt also participates in several volunteer activities, including serving as a board member of the St. Clair Associated Vocational Enterprises and the Metro East Parks and Recreation District. She has volunteered for the Hospice of Southern Illinois, the Dr. Willard C. Scrivner Public Health Foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Hohlt, who grew up on a dairy farm in Nashville, Illinois, has a bachelor of science in animal industries from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. She is working on a master’s degree through SIU-Edwardsville.

“Public health is my passion,” Hohlt said.

Contact reporter Joseph Bustos at jbustos@bnd.com or 618-239-2451. Follow him on Twitter: @JoeBReporter.

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