By: Rebecca Miller
Dr. Zoreida Vasi began working with the Health Department approximately 29 years ago when Jean Wise, who was the Health Commissioner at the time asked him to join and the Board hired him to be the Medical Director. In an interview he shared that over the years he has seen the Health Department expand in many areas.
Beyond the basic functions of a Health Department, such as vaccinations, the WIC program, birth and death Certifications, sanitation, etc., he has watched the development of many other aspects of health care in the county. During his tenure, the health board introduced Home Health Nursing Services (which was later discontinued), increased it’s role in preventive diseases like obesity and obesity related health issues, pregnancy related issues such as teenage pregnancies, drug use in school age children including the increased use of vaping. There is now more emphasis in educating school students in adopting healthy lifestyles.
Over the years the technology also has increased by leaps and bounds and has aided the Board in it’s communication with the community, hospitals and the various health related agencies. Much has happened in the past thirty years and he has been there for most of it.
The job description of a HD Medical Director says that they are “responsible for development and evaluation of standards of medical care throughout the department, providing medical direction to clinical staff, and advising the department in matters of medical policy, as well as meeting with the Board of Health and advising them on medical policy.”
Dr. Vasi has done all of that and more according to those who have worked with him. He worded it as, “My emphasis has always been to educate and communicate with our community concerning various issues with which the Health Department has had to deal.” He saw himself in an advisory role and has enjoyed his years working with Jean Wise and James Watkins as well as all of the Board Members and HD staff.
James D. Watkins, who has been the WC Health Commissioner since 2006, shared his thoughts about Dr. Vasi, “He is one of the most pleasant people I have ever met. He is quick to laugh, is caring about people and often surprised me with his knowledge at conferences when he was the most well spoken of the Medical Directors at the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners.”
Dr. Vasi was born and raised in India, and got his BSC Degree in Chemistry and Botany in Mumbai. He then attended Grant Medical College and got his MBBS which is equivalent to an MD, wrapping it up by having his internship there in Mumbai as well.
In 1972 he went to Canada and repeated his internship in Toronto, followed by his residency at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is also a Fellow of American Academy of Family Physicians and has certification in Alcohol and Drug Dependency from the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
He and his wife and two children moved to Bryan, Ohio in October of 1981, influenced in that decision by Rusty Brunicardi. He started a Family Practice in Sherwood, Ohio and during his almost forty years of practice in Northwest Ohio he has also worked at offices in Edon and Edgerton as the need arose.
He retired from Parkview about two years ago and has just retired from the Health Department at the end of April 2020. He will be missed! “I am now enjoying full retirement and look forward to spending more time with my family and traveling,” he stated about his plans for the present.
“My association with the health department has been very fulfilling,” Dr. Vasi shared in the interview. “I was given an opportunity to attend the Health Board Conferences in Columbus where I learned what was new in research and what was in fact happening in our Community, State and the country as a whole, and to attend the monthly Board meetings.”
“We have seen in this current pandemic what an important role the Health Board plays in a crisis. I would like to thank the board members for giving me the opportunity to serve our community. I wish the Health Board All the success in their future endeavors.”
And they are all wishing him the best as well. Director of Nursing Tammy Bernath said about Dr. Vasi, “ One that that struck me the most about Dr. Vasi is how much he cared about his patients. That caring transitioned to his role as Medical Director. He always advocated for vaccines as a way to keep patients healthy. I think he was very happy to serve the community for so many years. He will be missed.”
Board member Dee Custar shared, “Dr. Vasi has been an important voice on the Board of Health for many years. He is a man of few words but great wisdom and when he spoke, we knew to listen and learn. It was an honor to serve with him.”
We all thank you for your service to the county, Dr. Vasi, and Congratulations on your retirement!
Rebecca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org