NORMAN — If you’ve used tap water to brush your teeth, eaten at a local restaurant or buckled yourself in with a seatbelt, thank your local health department.
In fact, send your regards to Keith Reed, the newly named administrative director of the Cleveland and McClain County health departments, and the man behind the scenes.
“When you really look at (how) public health impacts what you do — it’s huge,” Reed said. “There’s not much that you can do that there’s not some kind of public health impact to it.”
Reed’s responsibilities, which began Aug. 12, include ensuring the public health needs are met for Cleveland and McClain counties. Reed supervises services provided both in and outside facilities at Norman, Moore, Purcell and Blanchard, including food service inspections, hotel/motel inspections, nursing services, immunizations, communicable disease outbreak investigations and more.
Reed recently served as the director for the State of Oklahoma’s Center for the Advancement of Wellness. Before that, he was the administrative director for Comanche, Cotton, Caddo and Kiowa counties for four years.
He is a current member of the Oklahoma Air National Guard. The eastern Oklahoman native has a bachelor’s in nursing from Northeastern State University and a master’s in public health from the University of Oklahoma.
Replacing the recently retired director, Shari Kinney, Reed said he plans to continue on the momentum established by Kinney and her staff.
Reed said he is still looking at county data to determine what, if any, changes need to be made. Whatever changes are implemented, he said, will be as tailored to the counties’ needs as is necessary.
Specific concerns Reed will continue to emphasize include tobacco use and obesity rates.
“Those efforts are in place now. Others are working on those and we are a part of those efforts. We want to continue to support those efforts,” he said. “I don’t want to come in and take over anyone’s efforts; I just want to support them the best I can.”