Press Releases

Board of Supervisors Appoints Public Health Officer

County Executive Office - Press Release


County Executive Office
September 1, 1999
Contact: Diane Thomas

Board of Supervisors Appoints Public Health Officer

(SANTA ANA) – The Orange County Board of Supervisors last night appointed a physician with clinical, academic, executive administration, and public health experience as the County’s Director of Public Health/Health Officer. Dr. Mark B. Horton becomes the County’s highest ranking physician and will serve as the Health Care Agency’s Medical Director.

Horton comes to the County from the Children’s Hospital and Health Center in San Diego where he served as Vice President for Community Programs, Director of the Center for Child Protection and Director for the Center for Healthier Communities for Children. While there he won a $2.1 million grant from the state Office of Criminal Justice Planning to establish a Southern California Medical Training Center to educate health professionals about child abuse. He also implemented a $2.7 million grant from the California Endowment to enhance and expand home visiting services to prevent child abuse and improve children’s health. Horton was also a leader in developing a countywide partnership to provide home visiting services to all San Diego County families to help reduce the mistreatment of children and improve their health.

"Dr. Horton has demonstrated a passion for the prevention of child abuse and a keen interest in integrating public health with other health care and social services," said Charles V. Smith, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. "We were also impressed with his skills as an excellent communicator and listener. He’s going to provide strong leadership in an important area and we’re proud to have him join the County family."

Horton is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. He completed his undergraduate and medical degrees at St. Louis University. He received his training in pediatrics at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago and at Duke University Medical Center where he completed a fellowship in ambulatory pediatrics as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar. He earned a Master of Science in Public Health Degree at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Public Health.

Prior to his work in San Diego, Horton was Director of Health for the State of Nebraska for five and a half years.

Horton has served in the National Health Service Corps in rural North Carolina, directed academic ambulatory pediatrics programs at two university medical centers, practiced pediatrics at the Boys Town National Research Hospital, and has served as a volunteer physician in the Dominican Republic and for the Indian Chicano Health Center in Omaha.

As the County’s Director of Public Health/Health Officer, Horton will oversee 1,200 employees and an FY 1999-00 budget of $97 million. Services that fall within the Public Health umbrella include Communicable Disease Control, Environmental Health, Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, Field Nursing, Tobacco Use Prevention, Employee Health, Dental Health Services, Public Health Laboratory, Juvenile Health, California Children Services, Epidemiology, Maternal & Child Health, and Animal Control & Shelter. His annual salary will be $144,310.

Horton’s appointment is effective September 13.