Public health a perfect fit

Kristi Campbell is director of the Cole County Health Department.

Kristi Campbell is director of the Cole County Health Department.

In her previous role as administrator for the disease prevention section at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Kristi Campbell missed the environmental side of things.

Now, as director of the Cole County Health Department, she gets to work with not only environmental issues, but also public health.

Campbell has a bachelor’s degree in geological sciences from the University of Missouri-Columbia, but she began her studies in Rolla.

“Historical geology was my favorite class, because the environmental aspect appealed to me,” she said. “I think it’s interesting how the environment affects people.”

She also said that from her various positions working for DHSS for 10 years and working for nearly four years as an environmental specialist for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, public health has had a lasting impact on her.

That’s why the position at the health department — which she’s held since Oct. 15 — was a perfect fit.

“We do so much behind the scenes to protect the people that they don’t know about,” she said. “It’s very rewarding to know we touch the lives of every person in the county every day.”

Campbell participates in collaborative committee meetings between DHSS and the Missouri Association of Local Public Health Agencies. She also attends Community Services Committee meetings and is involved with Central Missouri WeCan — a coalition “that provides education and support for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity.”

In 2009, Campbell graduated from the Environmental Public Health Leadership Institute, which is a one-year program of seminars, workshops and projects hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Campbell lives in Jefferson City, with her husband Rick; 5-year-old daughter, Landry; and 13-year-old stepson, Cole.

The family attends Faith Lutheran Church.

In her free time, Campbell enjoys hunting with her husband, archery, reading and working out.

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