Public health administrator focuses on improving wellness throughout Calhoun County
Public health administrator Stephen Shireman looks forward to coming to work every day at the Calhoun County Health Department.
“My favorite thing about this position is the people who work here and seeing their desire to work together to make a meaningful contribution to our citizens,” Shireman told West Central Reporter. “We have been fortunate to have personnel that are always contributing to making our department better.”
Shireman became public health administrator in June 2006 after serving as the director of environmental health for more than 25 years. He previously worked as an inspector for the Adams County Health Department.
“I began working for the Calhoun County Health Department when the available position allowed me to achieve a career goal with a potential for advancement,” he said. “It is a career goal to provide to the citizens a health department that they can be proud of and to provide a comfortable atmosphere to those who seek our services. We work with other agencies and health providers always looking for ways that we can expand our services locally. As a general rule, smaller counties are considered medically underserved, so there is plenty of need.”
Another goal of Shireman’s is to maintain and improve the financial stability of the health department and to assist in the development of staff.
“We continue to meet new funding challenges as many grants are not expected to cover the full costs of implementation,” he said. “I think it can be expected that funding will always be a primary concern of local departments.”
Shireman insists that public health departments must be able to adapt whenever faced with new challenges.
“We continue to strive for better health outcomes and to encourage healthy lifestyles,” Shireman said. “Today we have emerging pathogens that are capable of causing severe illness. Also the threat from foreign and domestic foes present new challenges to public health. Only following the events of 9-11 was public health given greater consideration as a first responder. In the event of a biological attack on our citizens, public health would become one of the primary responders to combat potential illnesses affecting our citizens.”
Shireman was born in East St. Louis and raised in southern Pike County. He currently resides in Pleasant Hill. He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental health from Illinois State University and master’s degree in health services administration from the University of Illinois-Springfield.
When he’s not helping to improve the health of Calhoun County residents, Shireman enjoys participating in outdoor activities including hunting, fishing and gardening.