County names next health director

Published 9:26 am Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Beaufort County’s next health director is a familiar face within the department of public health.

JaNell Octigan, who has served in various roles for the department over the past decade, was tapped for the position by the Beaufort County Board of Health.

She will assume health director duties Jan. 1, taking over for James Madson, who announced this fall his retirement effective at the end of the calendar year.

Octigan will lead a department with a $5.2 million budget and 48 full-time employees, including registered nurses, social workers, nutritionists, registered sanitarians, health educators and administrative support personnel.

The Board of Health expressed “confidence in her leadership skills demonstrated during COVID19 response, both operations and community outreach, but her involvement with strategic planning as well,” according to a released statement.

“I am very excited about us continuing the direction the Health Department has moved over the years,” said Dr. Chris Padgett, board chair. “JaNell has demonstrated great leadership and skills and I know that she will continue to help move us forward in addressing health concerns in Beaufort County.”

Octigan has served in various roles with the department over the past nine years, including preparedness coordinator, Health Education Department Supervisor, Public Information Officer, Community Outreach Coordinator, and co-accreditation officer. She was initially hired as in intern with the Beaufort County Health Department in 2012 before being hired as a Public Health Education Specialist and later promoted to Human Services Planner IV/Preparedness Coordinator.

Octigan received her Rural Health certificate from Brody School of Medicine and holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Public Health from East Carolina University.

“I’m honored and humbled to have the opportunity to continue serving Beaufort County Health Department and the community,” Octigan said. “I look forward to working with the board, county leadership, staff, and community partners to lead Beaufort County Health Department into the next era of Public Health.”

The health department is overseen by an 11-member Board of Health consisting of a county commissioner, physician, dentist, optometrist, veterinarian, registered nurse, engineer, pharmacist and three members of the general public.

Local funding accounts for 39 percent of the department’s total budget. The remainder is supported by fees and insurance from billable services and state and federal funding.

Beaufort County Health Department services include environmental health, public health preparedness and response, health education and healthy communities programming, Women Infant Children nutrition program, communicable disease control and immunizations. Some other services include behavioral health, adult health, women’s preventative health, maternal health, case management and general clinic.