NCPHD Board of Health Welcomes Three New Members


New members of North Central Public Health District’s board of health include a former county commissioner from The Dalles, a former head of emergency services in Sherman County, and a retired science teacher who lives in Maupin.

Bill Lennox of The Dalles joined the three-county board representing Wasco County last fall. Lennox grew up in Venezuela and later lived in Washington DC, before moving to Oregon in 1975. He retired from the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office in 2003 after 26 years there, spent two years in

Kosovo with the UN, and later served as a Wasco County commissioner from 2008 to 2012.

He was involved with the formation of NCPHD, which he saw as the answer to addressing rural public health needs. He later served on the NCPHD budget committee, and was asked by Wasco County Commissioner Kathy Schwartz, who chairs the board of health, to represent Wasco County.

“I have been involved in public service for nearly 45 years and so my commitment to the community has been longstanding,” Lennox said. He said the district is facing challenges due to demands of the COVID response and he is optimistic for the district’s future.

Shawn Payne of Moro joined the health board in December 2021. She has been involved in the medical field since 1983, including serving as emergency services director in Sherman County from 1999 until August

2021. She has taught first responder and EMT courses since 1985 and taught phlebotomy for 18 years at Columbia Gorge Community College. She volunteered for Sherman County Ambulance for 38 years.

She now works as a medical assistant and certified community healthcare worker for Sherman County Medical Clinic. “I feel that my medical background, experience on boards and my years of public service gives me a well-rounded ability to serve Sherman County,” she said.

Julie Whetzel also joined the board in December. She grew up in California and was a middle school science teacher there for 30 years. She and her husband first vacationed in Maupin years ago, they loved it so much they eventually built a vacation home there in 2008, then moved there permanently upon her retirement in 2017.

She loved the scenery and especially the people, and quickly became involved in the community. She’s on the board for Deschutes Rim Health Clinic and noted access to quality healthcare in Maupin “Is, quite literally, a matter of life and death.”

As a south county resident who was “completely immersed in a local public health-related project,” she said it seemed natural for her to be on the NCPHD board also.

“It’s my hope to serve as a bridge between the two agencies and connect South Wasco residents to information and services available to them as we all work together to improve healthcare access for all Wasco County residents,” Whetzel said.

(For more information, please contact North Central Public Health District at (541) 506-2600, visit us on the web at or find us on Facebook.)

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