10/25/11 — Roosen resigns job as health director

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Roosen resigns job as health director

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 25, 2011 1:46 PM

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James Roosen

James Roosen is stepping down from his duties as health director for Wayne County Health Department, effective Nov. 10.

He has held the position for eight years.

Recent health problems were cited as the reason for his departure.

"I have had brain cancer now for almost the last two years and it's definitely had an effect on my ability to do the job as health director," he said Monday.

Roosen had surgery for a brain tumor in February 2010.

"I think I have only missed three meetings since I have been here," he said, "and one of those was when I had my operation."

The Board of Health has called a special meeting for Wednesday to name an interim director and to discuss the search process for Roosen's replacement.

Roosen, who has two sons in college, said he plans to remain in the area, but is undecided about future plans.

"I'm not really sure about what I'm going to do out there in the world but one thing I truly want to do is see my dad, my two brothers and sister," he said. "And who knows? One thing I would really like to do is help people that need help in any form or fashion.

His decision came after a lot of thought, he said.

"I have been doing this for 25 years, public health," he said. "It's been really interesting in a lot of ways but it's just one tiny dimension of the entire world.

"I think I did OK. I just did the best that I could."

Roosen, 56, had much praise for the Health Department and its 130 employees.

"(They) are truly spectacular folks," he said. "We just have some very intelligent people. We have just got so many professionals here that truly help people from off the street and people that would not be helped in any way or shape or fashion -- things like prenatal care, dental, family planning. Where would all these people be seen if it weren't for the Health Department? Guess what? They wouldn't be seen."

While content with his decision to leave, Roosen admitted there would always be more he'd like to accomplish.

"I think that the best thing that we can do is to better partner between public and private entities in terms of providing better health," he said. "That's something that I think would be very important."