San Antonio names new Metro Health director

Claude A. Jacob comes to San Antonio from Cambridge, Massachusetts and will start in July

Claude A. Jacob has been named the new director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District. (City of San Antonio)

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio officials have chosen the new director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District.

Claude A. Jacob was selected after a national search, city officials announced on Friday.

“I am excited to welcome Claude to San Antonio to serve as the new Director of Metro Health,” said City Manager Erik Walsh in a press release. “I am confident that Claude will provide excellent leadership to Metro Health. He will continue to work to promote health equity and education for our residents. I’d also like to thank Dr. Colleen Bridger for continuing to serve the City during this transition.”

For the last 14 years, Jacob was serving as the chief public health officer at Cambridge Health Alliance in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Before that, he was deputy director for the Office of Health Promotion at the Illinois Department of Public Health. He was also the past chief for the Bureau of Disease Prevention & Control at the Baltimore City Health Department, as well as the former director of community affairs for the Sinai Community Institute affiliated with the Sinai Health System in Chicago, city officials said.

“As we have seen over the past year, public health plays a critical role in the day to day lives of every person. San Antonio has a wealth of public health programs, innovative approaches and services available to its residents,” said Jacob in a press release from the City of San Antonio. “I look forward to strengthening and expanding those services in order to address the conditions where all can be healthy in San Antonio.”

As director of Metro Health, Jacob will oversee more than 30 programs pertaining to communicable disease, community health, environmental health and operations.

His official start date is July 6.

Assistant City Manager Dr. Colleen Bridger will continue to serve as incident commander of the COVID-19 pandemic response during the transition, city officials said.

The city has been looking for a new director of Metro Health since Dawn Emerick unexpectedly resigned last June. After Emerick’s sudden departure, Bridger delayed her own resignation twice to continue leading city efforts against the pandemic.

City officials provided the following additional credentials for Jacob in a press release:

Jacob is a past president of the National Association of County & City Health Officials and is a member of the board of directors for the Public Health Accreditation Board. He has completed the certificate training by the National Public Health Leadership Institute and is a certified site visitor for the Council on Education of Public Health. He has a Master of Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Jacob is currently a doctoral candidate in health leadership from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health.

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