Updated: Oct 2, 2021
PLEASANTON – Tisha Coleman tendered her resignation as head of the Linn County Health Department on Monday, Aug. 23. She notified the Linn County Commissioners that she would leave her post on Sept. 16 at their weekly meeting.
She has been hired to be a regional public health nurse for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. She said she is not sure yet whether she will working in the northeast or southeast region of Kansas.
“It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” she said in an interview on Wednesday, Aug. 25. Although there will be some travel involved she will do much of her work from home.
While much of the work will be administrative, working with health departments in the region, she said she has also volunteered to work with “strike” teams that will help do mass testing and vaccinations.
Kansas today ordered many of its workers back to work at home as cases of COVID-19 surge across the state.
“If COVID ever does settle down, I’ll be seeing what other health departments are doing,” she said.
So far, none of her colleagues at the health department at Pleasanton have indicated an interest in applying for her job, she said.
Coleman’s fight to bring information to the public about the COVID-19 pandemic in Linn County has drawn scorn from many county residents. She has weathered verbal attacks and name calling for doing her job.
County commissioners have heard her express concerns and offer suggestions on how to stall the spread of the virus locally, but have failed to take action based on her advice.
Several national media outlets picked up an Associated Press article that covered the criticism she faced as a health department head in a conservative rural community.
In addition to that pressure, Coleman contracted the virus, and so did her mother. Her mother did not survive.
Coleman said that her new job would also likely face similar criticism, however, it likely would not be as personal.
Because she will continue to work out of her home in Linn County, she said she would be available to help bring her replacement up to speed quickly.