Tri-County deputy director to head Arapahoe County’s new health department

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AURORA | Tri-County Health Department Deputy Director Jennifer Ludwig has been selected to lead Arapahoe County’s health department, which will launch at the beginning of next year.

The newly-formed Arapahoe County Foundational Board of Health nominated Ludwig as its sole finalist for the position at its first meeting on June 15, and on Wednesday voted unanimously to offer her the job, which she accepted.

“I am honored and thrilled to accept the position as public health director,” Ludwig said at the meeting. She told the board she was excited to work with them to form the new department.

“Thank you for entrusting me to lead this new agency and to be part of the team,” she said.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Ludwig has served as Tri-County’s deputy director since 2017. A news release from Arapahoe County said that she has over 25 years of experience in public health, and prior to working for Tri-County served as executive director of Eagle County’s health department.

Ludwig is not a physician, so the board is currently in the process of seeking a chief medical officer who will be responsible for advising Ludwig and the board. At Tri-County, Dr. John Douglas had served both roles.

“In Ludwig, the Arapahoe County Board of Health intentionally chose a public health director who is a skilled public manager with a depth of knowledge in overseeing large, complex operations and a history of transparency and fiscal responsibility,” the release said. “Other metro area public health departments have chosen directors with more of an administrative background than a medical one. In this position, Ludwig will consult with the contracted medical officer and other health experts to support the specific needs of Arapahoe County residents.”

Positions are being posted for other roles inside the department as well, and the board said Wednesday it is encouraging current Tri-County employees to apply. Arapahoe County reached out to current Tri-County employees and found that about 130 would be interested in staying on in their current positions in the new department, and hopes to retain many of them. In total, the new department is estimated to have 180 employees.

The foundational board is also in the process of creating a budget for the new department, and is currently working on securing grants and other sources of funding. Typically counties contribute about 30% of the funding for health departments, with the rest coming from state and federal funding, Medicaid contributions, fees for services and grants.

The board has identified $18.05 million in revenue and estimates that it will have expenditures of $20 million. It is currently exploring ways to bridge the $1.95 million gap, and will present a budget to the board of county commissioners in September.

On Thursday, July 7, the county will hold a telephone town hall at 6:30 p.m. to update the public on its progress.

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