Dianne Frances D. Powell
TERRE HAUTE —
The Vigo County Board of Health appointed a new health officer Friday.
The board unanimously voted to appoint Parke County native Dr. Darren Brucken to fill the unexpired term of Dr. Enrico Garcia, who announced his intentions last month to retire after serving as Vigo County health officer for more than a decade.
Garcia’s retirement and Brucken’s appointment were effective Friday. The term expires on Dec. 31, 2016.
“Just looking forward to carrying on the good work of Dr. Garcia… and I certainly thank the Board of Health for offering the position,” Brucken said of his appointment when contacted Friday by the Tribune-Star. He said Garcia was his mentor.
Although a member of the board since 2002, Brucken was not present at the special meeting and excused himself from the process of hiring a new health officer. He publicly announced his intentions to apply for the job also during the board’s regular meeting.
The health officer position was advertised on the Vigo County website, the Tribune-Star and other locations, said board member Mike Eldred during the special session meeting held at the Vigo County Annex. The board coordinated with the county’s human resources department during the application process, Eldred said.
Brucken “is our lone applicant as a result of this process,” Eldred said.
According to the Indiana Local Boards of Health Orientation Manual, the health officer must be a licensed physician. It is a four-year appointment that is eligible for re-appointment.
Brucken is “quite competent to handle this position,” Eldred told reporters after the meeting.
Brucken, a family practice doctor, received an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Indiana State University. He graduated from the Indiana University School of Medicine in 1997 and has more than 15 years experience in medicine. He is certified by the American Board of Family Practice.
Brucken is also co-founder of P.I.N.K., a new Wabash Valley organization supporting breast cancer patients and their families.
Eldred said the “health officer sets the tone and oversees” the staff at the Vigo County Health Department. He said the position is important because some of the activities within the department — such as issuing birth and death certificates —cannot be done without a health officer.
The new health officer also wants continuity.
Brucken said the “most important part is to continue with business as usual.” He said his role is to “administrate” the different departments within the health department and “coordinate towards common goals.”
“Part of our job is the promotion of public health,” he added.
“I’m looking forward to taking the department on a forward direction,” Brucken said.
Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or firstname.lastname@example.org.