The director of St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health, Kathy Hedin, has been promoted to the position of deputy county manager of Health and Wellness, Ramsey County officials announced Tuesday.
She starts her new job Nov. 1. She will report to Ramsey County Manager Ryan O’Connor and serve on the county’s executive team.
The Health and Wellness Service Team is made up of the Social Services, Financial Assistance Services, Public Health, Community Corrections, Veterans Services and Administration departments and accounts for nearly half of the county’s budget.
“Kathy’s exemplary service, inspiring leadership and excellent working relationships developed over two decades at Ramsey County make her the ideal person for this critical position,” O’Connor said. “She has led our Public Health response to COVID-19, prioritizing community-focused, equity-first approaches that put the county’s vision, mission and goals into action.”
Hedin joined Ramsey County in 2001 as an Environmental Health Technician. She also worked as a health educator in the areas of recycling, solid waste and household hazardous waste in Public Health’s Environmental Health Division.
She later moved into work focusing on violence prevention, adolescent health, chronic disease prevention and health equity. In 2016, Hedin was promoted to manager of Public Health’s Healthy Communities Division.
She became interim director when the former director Anne Barry left to become the social services director in June 2019.
In March, Hedin was appointed director, just as the coronavirus pandemic hit Minnesota.
She provided weekly updates to the board on the virus, adapted the county to the often shifting regulations coming from the state, and led a department of 330 employees. She spoke out on the topic of racial disparities, calling racism a public health issue.
“I’m excited and honored to accept this appointment,” said Hedin. “As we continue working through the impacts of COVID-19 as a community, we must address the significant health and racial disparities it has unearthed. It’s my vision to invest in healing, well-being, bringing people together and finding ways to embed Ramsey County’s values to allow repair, growth and partnership.”
Hedin is a 2020-2021 Minnesota Young American Leader and a 2018-2020 Kresge National Emerging Leader in Public Health. She has a bachelor’s degree in community health – health science from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and earned a master’s degree in human services – social and community work, from Capella University, as well as a certificate from the Harvard Kennedy School.
The county is currently working to fill the director position. An appointment is expected in the near future.