Joe Russell, MPH, RS

Joe Russell, MPH, RS

Retired Chief Health Officer, Flathead City-County Health Department

Joe Russell earned his Masters of Public Health from the University of Washington emphasizing Epidemiology and Environmental Health Practice. He started his career as a food safety specialist and served over 30 years in governmental public health.  Joe recently retired from his position as the chief executive officer of a “full-service” public health agency, the Flathead City-County Health Department, where he operated divisions of environmental health, community health nursing, WIC, health promotion and a Federally Qualified Health Center offering primary medical care, behavioral health and dental care.

 In 2006, Joe co-chaired the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) until his retirement last year. CIFOR is in the forefront of creating and marketing innovative foodborne outbreak investigation techniques and reinforces the need for the core disciplines (epidemiology, environmental health and laboratory) to work as a team when responding to foodborne illness.

Currently, Joe works as an adjunct instructor with the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training at Louisiana State University (NCBRT).  NCBRT is one of seven organizations that make up the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium – a professional alliance sponsored through the Department of Homeland Security. With NCBRT, Joe was part of a team developed a course titled “Team Approach to Foodborne Outbreak Response” in 2009 and recertified it in 2016-2017.  He was also part of the development team for “Managing Food Emergencies: Strategies for a Community Response”. This is a unique course that brings together a team consisting of public health, agriculture and emergency managers to work together in the event of a wide-spread food emergency. Joe teaches these courses and continues to help develop similar curriculum around the country.

Joe has taught over 50 classes throughout the country and consulted to and with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in and out of the country. In 2016 and 2017, Joe consulted to the Republic of Georgia on food safety and foodborne outbreak response.