Ms. Carol Etherington, was recently elected as chair of the Metropolitan Board of Health of Nashville and Davidson County. Ms. Etherington replaces Mr. Sam Felker, who completed his term as chair, but will continue as a board member. Board members elected Etherington at their June meeting. She has served as vice chair since 2014 and as a board member since 2009. Board members elected Ms. Francisca Guzman as vice chair. Guzman has been a board of health member since 2014.
[Photo: Ms. Carol Etherington]
“I am honored to have been elected as board chair and look forward to working with board members, Dr. Paul, and the department on important public health matters and challenges to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone in Nashville.” Ms. Etherington said. “I am fortunate to have worked closely with Sam during his time as board chair, and have valued his exceptional leadership over the past three years. Sam has shown great wisdom and judgment while leading the Board when making decisions that impact our community.”
Ms. Etherington’s distinguished career illustrates her commitment to public health models that include traditional and non-traditional approaches to care and advocacy for underserved and vulnerable populations. She has worked in urban and rural areas around the globe focusing on traumatized populations.
Ms. Etherington established one of the first police-based counseling programs in the U.S. to serve victims of violent crime and has worked multiple disasters across the U.S. including earthquakes, hurricanes, school shootings and New York City post 9/11. She served on an international emergency medical team in the aftermath of the Pol Pot genocide and completed four missions in war-torn Bosnia. Since 1996, she has worked with Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) in Bosnia, Poland, Honduras, Tajikistan, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Angola, Darfur camps in Eastern Chad and evaluated MSF’s Iraqi mental health program.
Ms. Etheringon has received numerous awards and recognitions, including International Red Cross’ Florence Nightingale Medal; an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of New Hampshire; Martin Luther King award for service and commitment to the principles of equality, justice and understanding; six years on MSF/USA board of directors; 2007 Vanderbilt Distinguished Alumna of the Year. As associate professor of nursing, emerita, Etherington teaches/mentors graduate students in community and global health through Vanderbilt’s Institute for Global Health.
During her time on the Board, Ms. Etherington has stated that public health models based on the concept that health, mental health, human rights and human dignity are inextricably linked.
The Metropolitan Board of Health is a six member board. Other board members include Dr. Margreete Johnston, Dr. Thomas Campbell and Dr. Alex Jahangir.