Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

Interact for Health announced Monday President and CEO Dr. O’dell Moreno Owens will retire effective March 31. Owens has led Interact for Health since October 2016.

The Interact for Health Board will put a transition team in place to lead it upon Dr. Owens’ departure and will conduct a search for a new President and CEO. Additionally, the Board is planning a celebration in honor of Dr. Owens’ many contributions to the community. The public will be invited and details will be announced when large gatherings are allowed.

Dr. O’dell Owens

“I came to Interact for Health knowing that this would be my last job,” Dr. Owens said. “Leading Interact provides a unique opportunity to influence health care in the Greater Cincinnati community by investing in grants, research and policy, and leading a dedicated and talented staff. Whether helping a child get glasses and see the board in school for the first time, passing a model Tobacco 21 policy to deter youth from smoking or vaping or helping reduce opioid overdoses, I retire knowing that, together, we’ve made a lasting impact on our community’s health.”

As well as implementing the strategic plan, Dr. Owens and staff worked to build the Interact for Health brand as a resource for health education, to improve health equity and begin to address the social determinants of health in Greater Cincinnati.

“From early on, Dr. Owens stressed that to have the most impact our work needed to be laser-focused,” said Jeanne-Marie Tapke, the Board’s Immediate Past Chair and current Governance Committee Chair. “Over the past four and a half years, Dr. Owens has worked closely with the Board and staff to impact the long-term health of our community. While we are not ready to see him go, we are grateful for his leadership and wish him the best in his well-earned retirement.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Dr. Owens led staff in response to the evolving needs of the community. This included providing funding for face masks to nonprofits, additional funding for the overdose reversal drug naloxone and emergency dental care in Cincinnati. Dr. Owens made it a point to give the community the latest information about masks, hand washing and social distancing. His most recent focus has been joining the wide-ranging community effort to encourage COVID-19 vaccination. Additionally, he has worked to address the health disparities present in COVID-19 pandemic, serving as a frequent media source, speaker and member of Ohio Gov. DeWine’s Minority Health Strike Force.

“We will certainly miss Dr. Owens’ leadership, advocacy and tireless enthusiasm for his work,” said Woodrow Uible, Chairman of the Board.

Prior to joining Interact for Health, Dr. Owens served as the Hamilton County Coroner, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College President and Medical Director/Interim Health Commissioner of the Cincinnati Health Department.

Interact for Health

By senior