By Kathy Chouteau
Dr. Ori Tzvieli has been appointed Contra Costa County’s new health officer by the county Board of Supervisors. Dr. Tzvieli, who has helped spearhead the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a deputy health officer, fills the role vacated by the retiring Dr. Chris Farnitano after a 30-year career.
As Contra Costa County health officer, Dr. Tzvieli is afforded “broad authority under state Health & Safety Code” in his responsibility to protect the health of residents in his jurisdiction, per Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS). In California, each county appoints a health officer.
Noting that “Dr. Farnitano will be missed,” Board of Supervisors Chair Karen Mitchoff said that Dr. Tzvieli is prepared to step into a role “that is so crucial for the health and safety of our county residents during the pandemic.” She added that, together over the last two years, both Dr. Farnitano and Dr. Tzvieli have “contributed to one of the finest local responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in California.”
Dr. Tzvieli first joined Contra Costa Health (CCH) in 2000 as a family medicine resident at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center (CCRMC), said CCHS. His career has spanned various leadership roles including medical staff president, ambulatory care medical director, public health medical director and now his new position as director of public health, reporting to CCH Director Anna Roth.
His tenure has included championing “collaborative efforts to address opioid addiction” and caring for “some of the county’s most vulnerable residents” as medical director of the Health Care for the Homeless program, according to CCHS.
CCHS said that Dr. Farnitano “will formally retire in March after a celebrated career at CCH.” He served as ambulatory care medical director at CCRMC and family medicine department chair and in other roles before being promoted to Contra Costa health officer in July 2018.
Dr. Roth remarked that, given Dr. Tzvieli’s leadership in the county’s emergency response since the beginning of the pandemic, “we are fortunate to have someone with his experience and community knowledge ready to step up.” She added that she is confident that he will help to continue “our strong efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Contra Costa County.”
Learn more about CCHS and its response to the COVID-19 pandemic here.