Today@Sam Article

SHSU Medical Director Appointed As Local Health Authority

July 22, 2020
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

Robert Williams, MD, director of medical services at Sam Houston State University Student Health Center was appointed by Judge Danny Pierce as a Walker County Local Health Authority. In this role, he will work alongside Walker County Local Health Authority, Darrel Wells, MD. IMG_6813

Appointed for a two-year term, the position is responsible for administering state and local laws relating to public health. Williams’ duties include aiding the county with quarantine and public health law enforcement.

“This appointment enhances my ability to function as a liaison between SHSU and the Department of State Health Services,” Williams said. “Local Health Authorities are an extension of the health department (DSHS), so the position grants us more streamlined and ready access to regional experts.”

According to Williams, the SHSU Student Health Center  has historically had a strong working relationship with DSHS - the public health authority in Texas responsible for directing and coordinating the State’s response to all infectious diseases, including the COVID-19 pandemic. DSHS recommended formalizing SHSU’s relationship with this appointment to facilitate communication and narrow collective response time in managing local outbreaks as they arise. 

“I have also taken advantage of training DSHS makes available and will continue to participate in statewide calls the DSHS hosts regularly to facilitate dissemination of pertinent information, which has helped us to stay abreast of information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as it becomes available,” Williams said.

In accordance with the SHSU Preparedness and Response Plan for Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), Williams continues to work with Steve Jeter, the university’s Emergency Management officer, Walker County officials, regional DSHS staff, and the SHC Clinic director, Erica Bumpurs.

“This appointment adds another level of security for the university to ensure we don’t feel isolated in fighting the pandemic by ourselves,” Williams said. “It is reassuring to know that we can readily obtain advice or assistance from our regional public health officials anytime help is needed. Ultimately, the benefit to the university is that it now has a Local Health Authority who is exclusively focused on SHSU.”


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