Sidelinger takes over from Katrina Hedberg, M.D., who has served as acting state health officer since retiring May 31 after nearly 30 years of state service. He began the position, based at the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division in Portland, on Monday, Sept. 16.
As Oregon’s state health officer, Sidelinger says he looks forward to "continuing to work upstream -- on policies, systems, and environmental changes, as well as programs -- that can have a long-standing impact on improving people’s health.
"Working on the social influencers on health -- from education, economic opportunities, health equity, and other areas -- will allow public health to positively influence health in a multitude of ways," he says. "The state health officer has the privilege to help ensure that Oregonians are the healthiest that they can be. I will look at what is impacting the health of residents, and work with partners to implement policies and programs to support wellness."
As San Diego County deputy public health officer, Sidelinger fulfilled the duties of the vacant public health officer position and oversaw the county’s six Public Health Services branches, including California Children’s Services; Epidemiology and Immunization Services; HIV, STD, and Hepatitis; Maternal, Child, and Family Health Services; Public Health Preparedness and Response; and Tuberculosis and Refugee Health. He also was deputy health officer for San Diego County Health and Human Services from 2007 to 2011.
Since 2012 Sidelinger has been San Diego County’s child health medical officer, providing strategic direction for agency programs affecting children and families as part of implementation of the county’s Live Well San Diego vision to build a healthy, safe and thriving community. Additionally, he spent a year, starting in January 2013, as interim Maternal, Child, and Family Health Services chief. He also has experience in academia -- he was an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, from 2003 to 2007.
Sidelinger earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and his medical degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He has a master’s degree in education from the University of Southern California as well.
Sidelinger believes his education and training in pediatrics and public health help him take a broad view of health and incorporate the influences of family, community, and the broader region on health.
"I have spent over a decade working in a large health and social services agency, which required partnerships across government agencies and many partners throughout the community," he says. "This basis in collaboration will help me to best serve Oregonians in my new role."