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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, October 22, 2007
Dr. Diana Yu, Thurston County Health Officer, 360-786-5581

Public Health Employee Wins Statewide Honors

OLYMPIA – Darrell Cochran of the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department was recently named a statewide Public Health Leader by the Washington State Public Health Association.  Cochran received the award because of his longtime dedication to community health issues and his willingness to go "above and beyond" in finding solutions to public health challenges.  (Below are some excerpts from the nomination letter submitted by Thurston County Health Officer Dr. Diana Yu.)

Darrell Cochran began his career in public health in June of 1979, and for more than 28 years he has worked in the "trenches."  He trained and worked in all the various programs at Thurston County Environmental Health before settling into his niche in the Food, Pool, School and Vector program.  

Darrell has also participated on numerous committees at the local, county and state level.  He has taken part in the Bare Hand Contact Committee, Department of Agriculture Advisory Committee, ADHOC Safety Committee, Partners in Food Safety, State Food Barrier Protection Committee, and Food Safety Strategic Planning Committee, just to name a few.  

Over the years Darrell has been involved in the creation of various state guidelines; the creation of the current School Safety Guidelines with Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Department of Health Administrative Food Program Self-Assessment and with writing the current State Code for Food Service.  He took the lead to develop Thurston County 's regulations for Water Recreation Facilities. 

When a public health issue is in the news, you know that Darrell was likely involved in the assessment and management of the situation, but his name is rarely mentioned.  Sometimes it is bats in the Governor's mansion (1997), or mold at some low income apartment buildings (1999), or 500 people with an illness associated with Deep Lake (1994), or 192 people sickened after a salmon bake (1992). Darrell was ahead of his time with a warning to the food industry before the E. coli outbreak of 1993 and has been actively involved with the elimination of bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods. 

(Darrell Cochran is a Senior Environmental Health Specialist for the Public Health and Social Services Environmental Health Division.  For interviews, he can be reached at 360-754-3355 x 7524)

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3