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Molinaro Appoints County’s First Commissioner of Behavioral and Community Health

Published: 11/2/2015

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Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie…Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro has appointed Henry M. Kurban, MD, MBA, MPH, FACPM to lead the new Department of Behavioral and Community Health as the merger of the Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene is completed at the start of 2016.  Dr. Kurban will serve as Dutchess County’s first Commissioner of Behavioral and Community Health following confirmation by the Dutchess County Legislature.

Dr. Heny KurbanDr. Kurban will join the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health (DBCH) after having served most recently as Health Director for the Florida Department of Health – Charlotte County Health Department in Port Charlotte, FL for the past three years.   He will relocate with his family to Dutchess County to lead the DBCH in its mission to assess and protect the community from health risks, assure access to high quality services, and promote holistic care that integrates physical and behavioral health outcomes.   Dr. Kurban will oversee nearly 190 employees and an annual operating budget of approximately $63 million.

“In 2016, Dutchess County begins a new era of comprehensive care with a holistic focus on the person as a whole.   After an extensive search, we have found the best person to lead in our vision of being the healthiest county in New York State and that is Dr. Henry Kurban,” said County Executive Molinaro.  “We are very pleased to bring this talented and multi-faceted health professional to Dutchess County and lead this newly merged department.”

Dutchess County conducted a national search, funded by the Dyson Foundation, to find an individual with the necessary combination of management skill and clinical knowledge to lead the newly merged department through change and transition.   A search committee - which included representatives from the County Legislature and internal county staff, as well as external stakeholders - interviewed multiple candidates and recommended Dr. Kurban following a several month process.

Dr. Kurban earned his M.D. with Distinction from the University of Western Ontario in London, ON, Canada.   He also holds a Masters of Public Health from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD and a Masters of Business Administration from McGill University in Montreal, QC, Canada.    Dr. Kurban completed his post-graduate medical training through Columbia University as an Intern at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, NY and then as a General Preventive Medicine Resident at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD.    He has held leadership positions with the Virginia Department of Health and Thunder Bay District Health in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

“I am honored and humbled by this opportunity to serve in this exciting new role and I thank County Executive Molinaro for his support and confidence in me.   I am eager to get started on this new challenge and look forward to building on the exceptional work being done by the professionals who have served in the Health and Mental Hygiene departments as we come together as one new Department of Behavioral and Community Health, ready to serve the residents of Dutchess County,” said Dr. Kurban.

County Executive Molinaro first announced the concept of merging the Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene in his 2013 State of the County Address.    With funding provided by the Dyson Foundation, the County engaged the Center for Government Research (CGR) to determine the feasibility of merging the two departments.   The final report, issued in February 2014, recommended the merger of the two departments under a single commissioner.  Work has been underway for the past eighteen months to make the merger transition.  The new Department of Behavioral and Community Health will become official on January 1st, with the start of the 2016 county budget year.    (To learn more, click here)

County Executive Molinaro has forwarded the resolution to confirm the appointment of Dr. Kurban as Behavioral and Community Health Commissioner to the Dutchess County Legislature for approval at the November 9th board meeting.Following confirmation by the Legislature and approval by the New York State Department of Health, Dr. Kurban will begin serving as Commissioner on January 1, 2016.