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Johnson County names Director of Department of Health and Environment

Johnson County has hired Dr. Sanmi Areola to fill the vacancy for the Director of the Department of Health and Environment following the retirement last year of former director Lougene Marsh. He will begin work with the county on March 23.

“Health and well-being are a very important part of the success of every community. I am excited at the opportunity to lead the efforts to improve health for every resident of Johnson County as the Director of Health and Environment,” Dr. Areola said. 

“It is indeed a privilege and a responsibility that I am looking forward to as we work to be intentional in understanding the breadth of factors which affect health and applying what we know works for health to ensure we are improving the health and well-being of every resident and visitor to our county.” 

Dr. Areola currently serves as the Deputy Director/Interim Director of Health for the Metro Public Health Department in Nashville. He served in multiple capacities in his 17 years in Nashville including as the Director, Bureau of Environmental Health. He has a vast background of teaching appointments and experiences, spanning 1996-2018, including appointments as a biology instructor at two Texas community colleges and Texas Southern University, taught Management in Poisoning to pediatric medicine residents at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, and held adjunct professor positions in the Masters of Science in Public Health program (Environmental Health and Industrial Hygiene), also at Meharry Medical College. He has also routinely presented numerous lectures and co-taught several classes at Vanderbilt University, Meharry Medical College and Tennessee State University to medical students, residents, nurses, public health students and others.

Professional and civic memberships which Dr. Areola currently holds, include:

  • Tennessee Advisory Committee – U. S. Global Leadership Coalition.
  • Steering Committee – Nashville Health.
  • Community Advisory Council (co-chair) – Meharry-Vanderbilt Community Engagement Research Core.
  • Advisory Board – Meharry Medical College: Master of Science in Public Health.
  • Advisory Board – Tennessee State University: Department of Public Health, Health Administration and Health Science.
  • Society of Toxicology.
  • Toxicologist of African Origin Special Interest Group (principal organizer).
  • Tennessee Mosquito and Vector Control Association (founding member).

Dr. Areola is also the author of numerous manuscripts, abstracts and reports on a vast variety of topic, including, to name a few:

  • Global Health and Environmental Impacts of E-Waste Recycling - The Scope of the Problem – International Regulation and the Basal Treaty.
  • Emergency Response and Public Health: Defining Common Business Processes and Information System Requirements Critical to Effectively Detect, Assess and Respond to a Biological Incident.
  • Public Health Risks and the Indoor Environment.

“Dr. Areola is a self-described public health lifer and he has a tremendous passion for public health," says Joe Connor, assistant county manager. “Our organization and the community will benefit from this passion, his depth of experience and excellent qualifications.  We are fortunate to name Dr. Areola as our next Director of Public Health and Environment.”

Dr. Areola earned a B.S. in Agriculture (Animal Science) from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Stateside, he received a Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology from Texas Southern University in Houston.

Media Contacts

Lori Sand
Senior Public Information Officer
Office: 913-715-8572
Cell: 816-377-6528

Jody Hanson
Director of Public Affairs and Communication
Office: 913-715-0730
Cell: 913-626-5482