“How we think about and deliver health improvements in communities is rapidly changing. I look forward to building even stronger partnerships within the health and human service community and across sectors to innovate for everyone’s better health.”
Patty Hayes, a nurse with over three decades of experience in public health, today received the unanimous support of the Metropolitan King County Council for her appointment as the Director of Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC).
“Director Patty Hayes brings the necessary experience and tenacity to the role Director of Public Health,” said Council Vice Chair Joe McDermott, chair of the King County Board of Health. “Having worked with in her in her capacity as Interim Director, I am confident we have found the right person to fill this important position and I look forward to working with her to enhance communities throughout King County.”
“Patty Hayes has the vision, experience and passion needed to be the Director of Public Health,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague.
“I thank the council for the honor to serve as Director, especially at such an exciting time for our public’s health,” said Hayes, who was appointed interim director of PHSKC in August 2014. “How we think about and deliver health improvements in communities is rapidly changing. I look forward to building even stronger partnerships within the health and human service community and across sectors to innovate for everyone’s better health.”
The Director of Public Health is responsible for managing PHSKC, an agency that works to protect, provide and promote health for the county's two million residents. The department which has a budget of $638 million and over 1,000 employees, has five divisions, including Environmental Health, Jail Health Services, Community Health Services, Emergency Medical Services, and Prevention Services.
“Patty Hayes' lifetime experiences and commitment towards serving those most in need makes her an excellent choice as our new Director especially in these challenging times for public health,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett.
“I am so delighted that Patty Hayes has agreed to formally continue in this role. She has the experience, enthusiasm and expertise to do an excellent job leading Public Health,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “Her focus on healthcare means that I trust that she will work to keep people in our county heathy. After all, she was inducted into the 2002 Nursing Hall of Fame and has received several other prestigious awards.”
“I am pleased to support Patty Hayes as the new Director of Public Health,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “Her extensive dedication to the medical field clearly illustrates her ability to serve our community and ensure the health and safety of the residents of King County.”
“Last year, Patty Hayes and leaders of South King County worked together to keep the Auburn and Federal Way Public Health clinics open,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. “These clinics are vital to provide the most vulnerable members of our community with much needed healthcare, and her leadership helped keep these clinics open.”
Hayes, who started as a consulting nurse for the state Department of Social and Health Services, has devoted her entire professional career in the service of public health. Hayes has been the Executive Director of Washington State Nurses Association, has taught at both Gonzaga University and St. Martin’s College, and spent over two decades in agencies under the state Department of Health.
In 2012, Hayes became the Director for the Community Health Services (CHS) Division of PHSKC, the largest division in PHSKC. CHS oversees services for low-income and homeless individuals and families in King County, including the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program, Maternal Child Health services, family planning, school-based health centers, Healthcare for the Homeless, and primary and dental care services in the county’s public health centers.
Hayes’ work has been recognized locally and nationally. She is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including the Washington State Nurses Association's Nursing Hall of Fame in 2002, the 2014 Heroine of Health Care Award from the Center for Women and Democracy, and the Cynthia F. Shurtleff Award for leadership and dedication to the health and well-being of women, children and families in Washington.
Public Health – Seattle & King County is a combined city-county health department allowed under state law. The director is appointed by the county executive and the mayor of the city and must be confirmed by a majority vote of the county and city legislative authorities. Along with unanimous support from the County Council, the Seattle City Council today also gave its unanimous approval to Hayes’ appointment at its regular Council meeting.