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Louisville Names New Public Health Director

The Louisville Department of Public Health and Wellness has named a new public health director.

Dr. Joann Schulte is board-certified in general pediatrics and preventive medicine, and holds a Masters of Public Health from Emory University. She comes to Louisville from Dallas, where she served as a Medical Toxicology Fellow at the North Texas Poison Control Center at Parkland Memorial Hospital.

"I have an idea of what's been done and is done nationally," Schulte said. "But I think the most effective public health is what you can do at the local level."

Schulte said as director, she'd like to ensure that young people have access to health care and that their intellectual development is on track.

She also said preventing overdose deaths related to opioids would be a priority.

"Working on treatment for those people and working on prevention is important," she said.

Schulte said tracking where overdose deaths are occurring, expanding the city's needle exchange program and looking out for emerging drugs would lead to greater prevention.

She said the city's innovative approaches to health care attracted her to the position.

"It's a city that acts. It doesn't react, and I like that," Schulte said.

In the past, Schulte has worked as a medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and at the National Institutes of Health. She has also served as the chief of epidemiology for HIV/AIDS for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Schulte will begin as the public health director April 19. She will also have a faculty appointment at University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health.

Schulte will have an annual salary of $180,000. Louisville Metro government and U of L will share the cost for Schulte's salary and benefits.