Dr. Mysheika Williams Roberts officially starts her job as Columbus health commissioner Dec. 1 with a full plate and fresh perspective.
Roberts, who has served as medical director and assistant health commissioner at Columbus Public Health since 2006, will succeed retiring commissioner Dr. Teresa Long, who spent 31 years with the agency, 15 in her current role.
The board of health unanimously approved Roberts’ appointment, which was confirmed by Mayor Andrew Ginther.
“I am truly honored and humbled that the mayor and board of health have the confidence in me to do the job,” Roberts said.
Roberts will receive a salary of $201,760 annually as well as a monthly car allowance of $395. The health agency has 400 employees.
Roberts, originally from Los Angeles, said the city’s top priorities continue to be the opioid crisis, infant mortality and obesity. However, she said she will address them using social determinants, which include factors such as socioeconomic status, education and physical environment.
“I want to look at those issues from a slightly different lens,” she said.
Roberts, 47, has a medical degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Michigan.
Before joining Columbus Public Health, she served as an epidemic intelligence service officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She also served as the medical director of the Eastern Sexually Transmitted Diseases Clinic at the Baltimore City Health Department, and was a clinical instructor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
She lives downtown with her husband, Ed Roberts.
Karen Days, president of the Columbus Board of Health, said the city did not launch a national search to find Long’s successor.
“What we decided was we wanted to first honor the individual talent internally,” Days said.
Roberts was one of two finalists for the job. The other was Keith Krinn, head of environmental services for CPH.
Days said she was impressed by Roberts’ resume and performance at CPH; for example, working with Long on several infectious-disease outbreaks in the community.
“I think we all were impressed on how she was able to do things strategically,” Days said.