Harris Announced as new Health Department Director
Mayor Ethan Berkowitz announced the forthcoming departure of Anchorage Health Department (AHD) Director Natasha Pineda and appointment of Heather Harris as the new Director.
“Natasha has been amazing. She reenergized and reorganized the AHD, has been a leader in the response to the earthquake and COVID, and been a powerful voice for public health,” said Mayor Berkowitz. “I appreciate that she stayed on long past the time she agreed to serve. I also have her phone number, so we know how to find her when we need her. All of Anchorage should be thankful that she applied her talents and heart to making us safer.”
Heather Harris joins the MOA as the Director of the AHD. She is an alumna of UAA and has an executive master’s in public administration from the University of Washington. Heather has dedicated her career to serving our community, with particular focus on children, homelessness, disease prevention, and disaster response. She is originally from Homer, Alaska, and is committed to the long-term health of Anchorage residents.
“Heather brings new energy to AHD at a critical time,” said Mayor Berkowitz. “I have full confidence in her natural leadership and strong public health background to guide the Department through this pandemic, while at the same time ensuring that it fulfills its many responsibilities. I look forward to working with her.”
In This Issue
Alaska Problems Require Alaska Solutions
On January 16, a fire destroyed the water plant and washeteria in the southwest Alaska village of Tuluksak. For the village of about 350 people, it was a devastating blow. The water plant was the only source of drinking water in the village, in which the primarily Yup’ik residents lack indoor plumbing and rely on honey buckets, not uncommon in the flat, swampy region.