Other than walking into the "buzzsaw" of the county's current measles epidemic, new Davis County health director Dr. E. Arnold Isaacson said his first weeks on the job have been pleasant.
Isaacson took over the department's reins on May 1, but the job should have a familiar feel: He was the health department director for three years previously, from April 1963 to July 1966.Since then he worked for the state health department and most recently was a regional public health director in Texas and associate professor at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas.
Isaacson told the health board that he had been looking to return to his native Utah for nine to 10 years, and the opening in the county health department came along at the right time.
He and his wife are living temporarily in a home they own in Salt Lake City, he said, but are looking for a home to buy in Davis County.
The director said he is impressed with the health board's pro-active stance, preferring to identify and eliminate problems before they adversely affect the health of the county's residents. Issacson singled out the county's anti-tobacco campaign as an example.
Referring to the county's current measles outbreak, which totals about 45 cases, Isaacson said it was "an interesting experience to walk into the measles buzzsaw."
The outbreak has not been contained yet, he added.
Using the resources of the county's computer and graphics departments, Isaacson has mapped the outbreak. The county's graphics capability is just one of its outstanding resources available to the health department, he told the board.
In the weeks he's been on the job, Isaacson has met with the department staff, visited immunization clinics and met with school district officials. He is mapping out larger quarters in the county courthouse for the health department.
He also intends to press the County Commission for what he described as substantial salary increases for the department's nursing staff. Isaacson said the county needs to be competitive with other nursing salaries to retain its public-health nurses.