Breaking News
More () »

Who is leading COVID-19 response in Spokane County after Dr. Lutz's departure?

Here's what we know about who is leading efforts at the Spokane Regional Health District after Dr. Bob Lutz was asked to resign his position as health officer.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane County is without a health officer on Friday after Dr. Bob Lutz's departure. 

Lutz, who served as Spokane Regional Health Officer, was asked to resign following an executive session of the Board of Health on Thursday, Oct. 29.

It is unclear at this time whether Lutz resigned from his position or was terminated. 

Spokane County Commissioners Josh Kerns, Mary Kuney and Al French serve on the board, along with Spokane City Council President Breean Beggs, Councilmembers Betsy Wilkerson and Karen Stratton, Spokane Valley Mayor Ben Wick, Spokane Valley City Councilmember Linda Thompson and Millwood Mayor Kevin Freeman.

Many members of the public are concerned about the absence of a health officer to guide Spokane County in its coronavirus response. 

Clark said she and other health district leaders are in the process of recruiting another health officer, with help from Washington state, but they did not clarify a timeline for filling the vacant position. The recruitment process will begin "as soon as possible," she added. 

RELATED: Former Spokane health officer Dr. Bob Lutz asked to resign due to 'personnel issues'

Here's what we know about who is leading efforts at the Spokane Regional Health District right now. 

Amelia Clark

Amelia Clark, who serves as Administrative Officer for the health district, said she brought forth concerns about Lutz during an executive session of the board on Thursday, Oct. 29. The Board of Health ultimately supported her in asking for his resignation. 

The administrative officer establishes and implements public health policies and programs in Spokane County, according to the health district website. Clark's responsibilities also include enforcing local and state public health laws and providing leadership to SRHD staff.  

Clark began working in her current role at the health district on Sept. 16, 2019. She previously served as a consultant for Health Consulting Strategies in Muncie, Indiana.

A committee of five SRHD board members led the selection process, which included participation and feedback from multiple stakeholders.

Clark had worked in the public health and nonprofit sectors for more than 15 years at the time of her selection. Previously, she served as Regional Vice President of Meridian Health Services in Muncie, where she led the project for a supportive housing program that included behavioral care case management and on-site primary care for residents.

She also led a task force that focused on assisting mothers with addiction and babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. 

Dr. Mary Bergum

Dr. Mary Bergum, Medical Director of Treatment Services at SRHD, is assisting the health district with orders and other duties as needed, according to an email anonymously provided to KREM by a staff member.

Clark said in the email that she would keep staff "informed and up to date" once SRHD leaders worked through additional details related to health officer coverage. 

Dr. Bergum practices family medicine on Spokane's South Hill, according to her page on WebMD and other online sources. She graduated from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 2001.

Before You Leave, Check This Out