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Interim county health chief out of running

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By Adam Smeltz
Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 10:29 p.m.

Dr. Ronald Voorhees, acting health director for Allegheny County since June, no longer wants the job on a permanent basis.

Voorhees said he withdrew from consideration in March, citing personal health concerns and a wish to focus on programs in early-childhood development.

The county Board of Health, which appointed him last May as interim director, is scheduled to hear an update Wednesday on the search for a director.

“I think at this time of needing to rebuild the health department, (the director) needs to be at full strength,” Voorhees said on Tuesday. He said migraines limit him on that front.

Voorhees called support for early-childhood development “the most important thing we should be doing in public health.”

“I've really become convinced of the urgency to develop and more widely expand programs to provide nurturing, safe and secure starts for kids,” he said.

Voorhees, 58, of Regent Square said he hopes to keep a position in the health department, where he has worked since 2008. He does not know when a search committee of board members will name his successor.

Board member Edith Shapira said the board will receive an update on the director search at its 12:30 p.m. meeting at the Clack Health Center, Building 7, 301 39th St., Lawrenceville. She declined to say when the board might select someone.

The board fired longtime director Dr. Bruce Dixon in March 2012. He died Feb. 20 at age 74.

Adam Smeltz is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676 or

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