Linda Vail joined the Ingham County Health Department (ICHD) as their Health Officer in 2014. With nearly 400 employees and a $52 million budget, ICHD provides local health department functions, operates a network of community health centers with Federally Qualified Health Center status, and provides health care in the Ingham County Jail and Youth Center. Prior to joining ICHD, she served in local government for nearly 12 years in Kalamazoo County where she became the first female health officer, serving in that role for over seven years. Before her career in local county government began in 2002, Vail spent more than ten years with Pharmacia/The Upjohn Company as a biochemist/molecular biologist, and previously also held positions in the Biochemistry Department of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and the Microbiology Department at the University of Georgia. Linda has a Master’s in Public Administration with a public health concentration from Western Michigan University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology, magna cum laude, from the University of Georgia.
Linda is a board member and past president for the Michigan Association for Local Public Health, served four years on the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) Health Equity and Social Justice Advisory Committee, and formerly served on the McLaren Greater Lansing Board of Trustees. She is a member of the State’s Medical Care Advisory Council (a mandated council to advise the state Medicaid Director), a board member of the Capital Area Health Alliance and also serves on a number of other local boards and committees. She holds faculty appointments in the Department of Family Medicine, Michigan State University, College of Human Medicine and as well as the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine.
Linda’s leadership has been a key component in organizing a multi-disciplinary task force to address the ongoing opioid epidemic that is sweeping our nation. She is frequently speaking to audiences, providing workshops, or involved with panel discussions in a variety of venues to raise awareness and discuss approaches for prevention and intervention of opioid abuse and overdose. During her tenure between Kalamazoo and Ingham Counties, Vail has provided leadership during emergent public health issues including the largest inland oil spill in history (Kalamazoo River) West Nile Virus, H1N1, Ebola and investigation of E. coli contaminated ground beef in conjunction with the CDC that led to a USDA recall nationwide. She led the Ingham County Health department investigation of a Norovirus outbreak at a local convention center and hotel where more than 450 were confirmed ill at events spanning at 5 day period. Currently, Vail is leading the Ingham County response to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Her prior experience in infectious diseases and epidemiology as well as having led the response to multiple public health crises over her tenure have been critical to the successful coordinated response, including her appointment to the Relaunch Greater Lansing Task Force, in Ingham County and the Greater Lansing Area.