Meet the Team
Tom Eversole, Interim District Superintendent
I was asked to serve as interim superintendent following Anne Presson’s move to a new professional, career opportunity. Since coming on board January 1, 2022, I have developed a tremendous appreciation not only for how much work Anne did for the District and the people it serves, but how well she did it! Her work was outstanding, and she built a solid foundation as evidenced by the District’s excellent audit results posted on February 3rd (see https://sao.wa.gov and enter 1029810 as the “Key Word” at the bottom of the page).
I’ve been asked to share a little about my work experience and job qualifications.
My public career began in 1988 providing mental health services as a psychology associate in the AIDS unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital when a different epidemic was on the rise. Mental health care was embedded in primary care in the AIDS Clinical Trials Unit. From there I went on to work at the American Psychological Association in “the other” Washington helping develop and direct APA’s AIDS training program for psychologists. I was able to bring my job with me in 1994 when we moved to Corvallis, OR, for my spouse’s graduate degree at OSU.
In addition to my HIV/AIDS work, I had been working as a national trainer for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration since 1989. That work focused on community development for substance abuse prevention and on leadership in multicultural organizations. Those experiences fueled my interest in public health, and in 1997 I moved into a job at the Oregon Health Division managing its HIV prevention program. “Other work as assigned” evolved into managing its HIV, STD, and TB programs.
I grew up on a farm in the Appalachian Mountains, so Portland really wasn’t my cup of tea. In 2000 I landed a job back in Corvallis administering the County Health Department, which included Public Health, Environmental Health, Mental Health, and Developmental Disabilities programs. While I was there, we added a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), which — led by wonderful staff — has grown into six primary care clinics in two counties.
Having worked in public health at the county and state level, I realized that one leg of the 3-legged stool was missing: a school of public health. Not knowing any better, some public health friends at the university and I undertook to start Oregon’s first one at OSU. While working at OSU, I also taught public health and veterinary public health. I loved it. The college of public health was accredited in 2013.
From there I was invited to go back to the Oregon Health Authority and administer its Center for Public Health Practice. The newly established Center consisted of state programs for Immunizations, Acute and Communicable Diseases, Vital Records, the State Public Health Lab, Emergency Preparedness, and my old friend — the HIV, STD, and TB Program. Again, I had the greatest coworkers. I learned so much from them, and I was pleased to turn over the reins to one of my supervisees when I left in 2016.
That was a long and winding road, but it got me to Orcas in 2017 — ideally, to work on deferred maintenance on our place in Deer Harbor, but unexpectedly to help with the ballot measure that would establish Orcas Island Health Care District. I am so grateful to our community for passing the measure, and to everyone who has worked since then to establish a public clinic. Experience shows me it takes 3–5 years to establish a new medical practice — and that’s without COVID!
I’ve tried to retire twice before. With a change in superintendents, I am happy to step in to help those who are working so hard on our behalf. One of my job interview questions was “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I laughed out loud and said: Retired! … Maybe the third time’s the charm?
The powers and duties of a Public Hospital District superintendent are very clearly defined in Chapter 70.44.080 of the Revised Code of WA (RCW). The superintendent serves as the chief administrative officer of a public district hospital and has control of the administrative functions of the district. The superintendent is responsible to the commissioners for the efficient administration of all affairs of the district.