Our Health Director, Shavonna Lausterer, passed away Thursday, June 6th. Health Department staff will miss her deeply. She had an infectious joy in living she shared with all of us. Her passion and vision of public health inspired staff to improve the health of our community. Her passion for public health was rooted deeply in her life experience of watching both her mother and stepfather die from HIV. These and other experiences caused Shavonna to be a champion for public health prevention services.
Shavonna’s leadership style and focus on empowering others was exemplified by a quote she displayed in her office: “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough they want to stay”. She guided staff to find ways to engage non-traditional partners and disempowered populations in our planning and decision making. Shavonna re-energized Department efforts to understand and learn how to address health equity in all the Department’s work. She continued to provide direction and support throughout most of her long illness.
Her courage, openness and perseverance helped us understand what can be accomplished amid pain, loss and overwhelming challenges. Shavonna’s daughters, husband and family are in our thoughts.
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