Mike Zelek named permanent Chatham County Public Health Director

Pittsboro, NC – After a multi-state and multi-county search, the Chatham County Board of Health voted unanimously to appoint Mike Zelek as the next Health Director at the November 23, 2020 Board of Health meeting. 

Michael Zelek
Michael Zelek

Zelek has worked with the Chatham County Public Health Department for eight years, first as Social Research Associate and later as Health Promotion & Policy Division Director. He has served as the Interim Health Director since June 1st following the retirement of the previous health director, Layton Long. 

“Mike has done an outstanding job over the last several months, and the Board is thrilled Mike has accepted this role,” said Chatham County Board of Health Chair Carol Reitz-Barlow. “Mike is committed to health equity and moving forward with a diverse and equitable Health Department that recognizes the needs of Chatham County.”

Zelek holds a Masters of Public Health from UNC-Chapel Hill and Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University. During his time with CCPHD, he has served on the Boards of Directors of several Chatham County and North Carolina non-profit organizations. He is currently the President of the North Carolina Public Health Association.

“I am honored to serve as Chatham County’s Health Director, and am grateful to the Board of Health for its support,” said Zelek. “I consider myself very fortunate to work with such a highly dedicated and skilled team in a community that values the important role of public health.”

Since taking over in the interim role, Zelek has overseen the department’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has worked to advance other public health initiatives, including health equity, while also adapting to the recent cyber incident.

“I am inspired by our team’s perseverance as it responds to an ongoing pandemic while continuing to provide critical services to the Chatham community,” added Zelek. “While we all wish the virus would go away, the reality is that it is an increasingly serious threat to our community and we all must remain vigilant in our response, just as this team has been throughout the pandemic.” 

For more on Chatham County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit chathamnc.org/coronavirus (English) or chathamnc.org/coronavirusespanol (Spanish). Information can also be found on the CCPHD on Facebook at facebook.com/chathamhealth.