Anchorage Health Department has a new director

The Anchorage Health Department has a new director.
The Anchorage Health Department has a new director.(From the Office of the Mayor)
Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 5:03 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage Health Department Director Natasha Pineda is departing from the department and the position will be filled by incoming Director Heather Harris, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz announced Thursday.

Harris will begin at AHD Aug. 24.

Pineda has been the director of the department throughout the pandemic and the mayor thanked her for her leadership at AHD in his announcement.

“I appreciate that she stayed on long past the time she agreed to serve,” Berkowitz said in a prepared statement. “I also have her phone number, so we know how to find her when we need her. All of Anchorage should be thankful that she applied her talents and heart to making us safer.”

Pineda was a frequent member of the mayor’s COVID-19 press conferences, where she responded to questions about cases in Anchorage and talked about best practices for limiting exposure to the virus.

The new director of the department is originally from Homer and attended the University of Alaska Anchorage. Harris has an Executive Masters in Public Administration from the University of Washington.

“Heather brings new energy to AHD at a critical time,” Berkowitz said in the announcement. “I have full confidence in her natural leadership and strong public health background to guide the Department through this pandemic, while at the same time ensuring that it fulfills its many responsibilities.

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