For Immediate ReleaseApril 02, 2015
Board approval expected April 7 for appointment of Dr. Grant Colfax
San Rafael, CA – Dr. Grant Colfax, a physician with a long career in public health and a former adviser to the Obama Administration on HIV/AIDS, is the County of Marin’s choice as its new Director of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
An 11-year Marin resident, Colfax is set to replace Dr. Larry Meredith, who recently retired after 13 years as head of Marin HHS. Colfax is scheduled to be appointed by the Marin County Board of Supervisors on April 7 and his first day on the job will be May 4 if appointed.
Colfax spent 18 years working in public health service at the local and federal level, including Director of National AIDS Policy for President Barack Obama from 2012-14. In that role, he set priorities for $23 billion in federal funding and directed HIV/AIDS strategy for several federal departments. Previously, he was Director of HIV Prevention and Research for the City and County of San Francisco from 2007-12. Most recently, Colfax served as Global Program Leader for HIV and Tuberculosis for the Seattle-based international nonprofit Programs for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH).
Colfax’s new job is only about 90 minutes from where he grew up in Boonville, Mendocino County, where the family ran a goat farm. After earning a bachelor’s degree and M.D. from Harvard University, he became an internal medicine resident and later a fellow in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco, in the late 1990s prior to working in four roles for San Francisco’s Department of Public Health.
Colfax said he’s excited to get back to public health policy at the local levels of government and that Marin HHS has been innovative at partnering with local stakeholders to solve problems.
“Being part of the Obama Administration was a privilege, but I have sorely missed the proximity, community partnerships and tangible impact of local public service,” Colfax said. “It is through ongoing local engagement that I have seen first-hand how the parameters defining optimal health and wellness extend far beyond traditional disease-dominated paradigms. Marin HHS has a long history of delivering effective and sustainable programs, and I welcome the opportunity to help lead this work in a shared journey toward optimal health and well-being.”
Marin has a strong contrast between extreme affluence and considerable poverty, Colfax added, “and securing the well-being of all communities involves meeting many challenges, including persistent health disparities, an aging population, suboptimal vaccination rates, the need for affordable housing, gaps in education and a lack of accessible healthy food options for many residents despite a thriving agricultural sector.”
County Administrator Matthew Hymel, who will serve as HHS Director until Colfax is aboard, said the nationwide search yielded 69 applicants for the position and there were several remarkable contenders.
“We were fortunate to have several exceptional candidates, but we were particularly impressed with Grant’s combination of experiences in health policy, leadership, community engagement,” Hymel said. “I am confident that Grant will successfully lead our talented HHS team.”
Marin HHS is the County’s largest department with more than 700 employees working at several buildings around the county.
Matthew HymelCounty AdministratorCounty Administrator's Office
3501 Civic Center DriveSuite #325San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-6358Email: Matthew HymelCounty Administrator website