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D’Shane Barnett is Missoula County’s new public health director

D’Shane Barnett earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, with an option in inequality and social justice, from the University of Montana and has a master’s degree in healthcare administration and interprofessional leadership from the University of California, San Francisco. (Courtesy photo)

(KPAX) The Missoula City-County Board of Health has announced who will replace Health Officer Ellen Leahy when she steps down in June.

D’Shane Barnett was selected for the position following a nationwide search and extensive community interview process.

Barnett — who is Mandan/Arikara — has worked in the American Indian health field for more than two decades. He is the former director of the National Council of Urban Indian Health in Washington, D.C., and currently serves as the executive director of All Nations Health Center in Missoula.

Barnett earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, with an option in inequality and social justice, from the University of Montana and has a master’s degree in healthcare administration and interprofessional leadership from the University of California, San Francisco.

He is currently completing his doctorate in public health at UM.

“We are extremely fortunate to have D’Shane lead our health department and community into the future,” Board of Health chairman Ross Miller said. “While D’Shane is originally from Missoula, he brings incredible experience from both within and outside our community, with extensive public health work in Washington, D.C., Oakland, California, and Missoula, providing a great combination of innovative ideas and local knowledge.”

“D’Shane’s vast experience with the public health needs of diverse communities will be an important aspect of his leadership. We look forward to supporting D’Shane in his new role as director and health officer of the Missoula City-County Health Department,” Miller continued.

Barnett says he’s looking forward to his new role, which he’ll start on May 17.

“I am honored that the Board of Health has selected me for this position. Missoula is fortunate to have so many talented and dedicated people working at our health department and I am excited to join that team,” Barnett said in a statement.

“We all know that there is challenging work ahead, but our elected leaders have demonstrated a commitment to protecting and improving health for all people in our community and I am humbled to play a role in that process.,” Barnett continued.

He will be responsible for professional level administration of the health department including overseeing all divisions of the health department and carrying out statutory duties related to protecting public health.