Thanks and goodbye, Board of Health

Sandra ClarkLet's Talk

Say thank you or at least goodbye to the Knox County Board of Health. Surely these folks are not nuts enough to keep volunteering chunks of time to keep the community safe during a pandemic when the community’s elected leaders just voted 8-3 to kick them to the curb.

Tired of not hugging your grandma? Blame it on the Board of Health.

Want to go drinking past 10 p.m.? Past midnight? All night? All week? Who are they to say don’t do it?

Getting sweaty behind that mask? Well, take that puppy off.


Stamp foot. Turn red. Hiss and sputter.

Or just read these quotes from citizens at Monday’s meeting of Knox County Commission. Seventeen people came (unmasked) to speak. Their thoughts:

“Politically motivated medical experts.”

“Covid is bad enough, but the Board of Health rules have caused great distress. Take away their mandate power.”

“Counties without a health board have fared just as well if not better than us.”

“The pandemic is a lack of Vitamin D. Why is our Board of Health not talking about this?”

“Your enemy is not Covid but the unelected Board of Health.

“Our freedoms are stripped by an unelected and unaccountable board. Children are terrified; families are broken.”

“Tonight is your opportunity to decide who is in charge – you, the elected officials, or the unelected, appointed and unaccountable Board of Health.”

“People have died; people have lost their business” as a result of Board of Health mandates.

“Do your job. Shut them down.”

Without debate, the commission voted to make the Board of Health advisory only. Voting no were Larsen Jay, Dasha Lundy and Courtney Durrett.

Knox County Board of Health Members

  • Dianna C. Drake, PharmD, president, District 2 Tennessee Valley Pharmacists Association
  • Maria C. Hurt, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, clinical assistant professor, University of Tennessee College of Nursing
  • Jack E. Gotcher Jr., DMD, PhD, University Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons; professor, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine
  • Patrick O’Brien, MD, Col, USAF, MC, FS Chief Medical Review Officer Drug Demand Reduction Program, National Guard Bureau
  • James E. Shamiyeh, MD, MBA, MSPH, FCCP, senior vice president and chief quality officer, University Health System Inc.
  • Marcy J. Souza, DVM, MPH, MPPA, DABVP (Avian), DACVPM, associate professor and director of Veterinary Public Health Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine

Government officials, citizen rep

  • Martha L. Buchanan, MD, ex-officio, senior director and public health officer, Knox County Health Department
  • Glenn Jacobs, mayor, Knox County government
  • Ani Roma, M.Ed., citizen representative
  • Bob Thomas, superintendent, Knox County Schools

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.

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