LAURINBURG — After his first two days on the job, Scotland County’s new health director mingled with a few dozen health department employees and county officials at a Tuesday meet-and-greet.
Last month, the Scotland County Board of Public Health hired Bengie Hair, a Fayetteville native with more than 20 years of experience working in public health on the state and federal levels and in the private sector.
Hair expressed appreciation for a warm welcome to Laurinburg and for the opportunity to get directly to work after taking the reins at the health department on Monday.
“We’ve been busy looking at the department and assessing the department’s activities and the services that are provided,” he said Tuesday.
Hair will be devoting much of his attention to the health department’s upcoming state reaccreditation, with paperwork due on Nov. 1 and a site visit in the spring.
“The next few months are going to be really busy preparing for that,” said Hair. “We’re well-prepared for it, but I want to go back through and make sure that everything is in order.”
Hair has come to Scotland County after two years as a public health administrator and health educator at the Moore County Health Department. He holds a bachelor’s degree from The American University School of Government and Public Administration and studied health care management on the graduate level at Duke University.
Hair replaces David Jenkins, who left the department for Carteret County in February after starting in August 2013. Wayne Raynor served as interim health director following Jenkins’ departure.
Hair’s experiences also include seven years as manager of the palliative care unit at Roper St. Francis Healthcare in Charleston, South Carolina and nearly five years with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a project officer and Health Resources and Services Administration branch chief.
Hair also plans to review streamlining the health department’s service areas. Though the individual departments function independently of each other, their missions also overlap. He has also made a goal of increasing the numbers served by the health department’s recently reinstated maternity health and child health clinics.
Hair praised the health department’s 40-member staff, which range from nurses and lab technicians to social workers and environmental health personnel.
“I think the strongest asset is that there’s a very committed staff here, and that makes a big difference in being able to achieve any kind of objectives in health care,” he said.
“These are good public health professionals, and that’s a good base to start with.”
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.