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JCHD employee retires after 38 years

After 38 years working for the Jessamine County Health Department, Joanne “Jo” Morgan walked out the building’s front doors and into retirement last month.

Morgan said she will miss the people she was worked with the most.

“(I’ll miss) the people more than anything, including the JCHD staff, BOH members, Kentucky department for public health staff and peers from other health departments,”
she said. “The health department is my family and I love everyone dearly.”

On March 17, 1980, Morgan began working for JCHD as the community health worker. At the time, she was one of seven health department employees and said she often experienced days when the phone would not ring.

Fast forward to 2018 with a staff of 35 and the phones ringing off the hook daily, Morgan has since served in various capacities and departments at the health department, including community health worker, administrative assistant, administrative secretary, interim director and director of administrative services.

Her advice for new and current public health professionals is to have a passion for the community and their wellbeing.

“Public health is designed to help people and lead them in a better direction,” she said. “Always be eager to learn and do better for your organization.”

Morgan said her greatest memory at JCHD is having the opportunity to work alongside her two daughters, Tish and Lori. Her oldest daughter, Tish, started working at JCHD in 1999 with the K-Chip and WIC programs. Her youngest daughter, Lori, worked part time from 2001 to 2011 after school archiving medical records and working in the clinic with the nurse practitioner. Both of her daughters have since entered careers in the medical field.

“(I) loved that Tish and Lori were interested in public health and extremely grateful to spend time with them at work and watch them grow into the resilient women they are today,” Morgan said.

Morgan also said the directors she worked with throughout the years greatly influenced and motivated her in her work.

“I was always eager to learn from each director and appreciated their different viewpoints,” Morgan said. “I was able to adapt to different missions and visions and that was a great motivator to continue my journey with the health department. The constant change in direction kept me on my toes and educated.”

Even with constant budget cuts, Morgan said she remains optimistic public health will continue to grow and there will be an increase in awareness of how essential public health is to the common good of the community.

Morgan said she intends to stay active and occupied during retirement and has plans to volunteer with various organizations and stay involved in community affairs.

“(I plan to) live a little by spending time with family and explore new areas inside and outside the country,” Morgan said.

JCHD Public Health Director Randy Gooch said Morgan will be missed as she heads out of the department and into retirement.

“Morgan is an exceptional lady and has made a lasting impact on JCHD and our community,” he said. “Her 30 years of dedicated service to the JCHD and community is bar none and she will truly be missed.”