It was certainly a bittersweet event this week when members of Team Orange, colleagues, friends, family members, and others joined together to celebrate the retirement of our very own Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Jean M. Hudson. The Health Department staff did a fine job of organizing a luncheon worthy of marking the accomplishments of this outstanding health care professional. All of us in County Government wish Dr. Hudson the very best of health and happiness in retirement, however, there is no doubt that her commitment and contributions to the health and well-being of the people of Orange County will be missed by so many.
It was my privilege to appoint Dr. Hudson to the position of Health Commissioner in 2003. She came to Orange County from Westchester County where she had been serving as Deputy Commissioner for Community Health Services. She is a board-certified family physician and a member of the Society of Adolescent Medicine. In her 40 years as a physician, Dr. Hudson spent the first 20 years in family medicine and the second 20 in public health.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Hudson and speaking with her, you will undoubtedly notice two things – she is an unbelievably fast talker – a no-nonsense kind of person who doesn’t mince words – and she is not originally from these parts. She came to New York by way of Great Britain. She received her medical degree from the Middlesex Hospital Medical School in London, England and was originally in practice there. Once in the United States, Dr. Hudson completed her family practice residency at Stony Brook University Hospital and received her Masters in Public Health from New York Medical College.
Dr. Hudson believes in getting things done. She has served on the New York State Association of County Health Officials for many years, including a stint as association president. She was also recognized as their Public Health Professional of the Year in 2012. During her tenure in Orange County, she has re-invigorated the Orange County Health Advisory Board and created the Medical Examiner’s Office. She also established the Medical Reserve Corps, a group of health professionals and others who are ready to assist in the event of an emergency or disaster in our County. Dr. Hudson re-established the County’s Healthy Orange initiative thus re-affirming Orange County’s commitment to public health. Our County’s public health educators are always on the go, working with schools, business, municipalities, and others, to educate and inform in order to promote and preserve good health and well-being for our County residents.
A staunch fighter of flu, Dr. Hudson is known for getting the word out about flu vaccines. She also is vigilant in her efforts to combat rabies, Lyme disease, and West Nile Virus in our community. Mosquitos and ticks never stood a chance against our health commissioner! Childhood obesity, tobacco, and lead poisoning are also on the good doctor’s hit list.
Dr. Hudson has been recognized by Orange Regional Medical Center for her commitment to the health of our community, appeared on the cover of Hudson Valley Life magazine, and most recently was named an Orange County Woman of Achievement by Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson and YWCA Orange County. She leaves behind big shoes to fill, but also a well-established, dedicated team that is up to the challenge of building on her legacy in Orange County.
We wish Dr. Hudson all the best in retirement and hope that she and her husband Ron enjoy many splendid hours sailing this summer.
Until next week, I wish you good health and happiness.