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Santa Cruz County Health Officer announces her retirement

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION-TV)- Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel announced her retirement on Thursday morning.

Newel served as the county health officer for four years and her final day will be on June 23.

"It has been a great privilege to serve my community during these challenging past few years," Newel said. "I recognize the hard work and sacrifice of our community members, all of whom came together to protect the health of their family, friends, and neighbors.”

Newel has been in the public health field for over 30 years. She started her work serving as clinical faculty with the UCSF training program and as Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

She also served as a public health officer for San Benito County as well.

“Dr. Newel's remarkable career and contributions to public health have made her a trusted advocate and
leader in her field,” Santa Cruz County Health Services Director Mónica Morales said. “Her unwavering commitment to improving the health and well-being of others continues to inspire and will make a lasting impact on the community.

In her four years, Newel started initiatives to promote community health and prevent the spread of diseases. She also help promote and expanded access to Narcan.

On May 10, she received a letter of appreciation from the Santa Cruz County Syringe Services Program Commission.

"During her tenure with Santa Cruz County, Newel exemplified the spirit of public service through her courageous and principled leadership on behalf of County residents,” said Santa Cruz County Administration Officer Carlos Palacios. “We will miss her guidance but wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

Newel declared racism a public health crisis in Santa Cruz County on Aug. 18, 2020. The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors created a resolution to address racism and include educational efforts in county departments.

This led to the county's Health Services Agency and Human Services Department to join the Government Alliance on Race and Equity.

Her final event as the County Health Officer will come on June 15 when she will deliver a virtual presentation called the "State of the County's Health."

Newel provide an update on the County’s current health status followed by a moderated Q&A.

The event will be on Zoom.

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Derrick Ow

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