Jessica Gehle

Environmental Health Division Director

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

Jessica’s love of public health started in Chicago as an undergraduate student at DePaul University. Early exposure to population-based health through a college course gave her the curiosity to explore health from different perspectives. She started her public health career in STD prevention at Washington State Department of Health, where she shaped disease investigation and surveillance efforts for several local health jurisdictions. Today, she is the environmental health director at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, where she prioritizes quality improvement, customer service, community engagement, health equity, and policy, systems, and environmental changes to advance the department’s vision of Healthy People in Healthy Communities.

She earned her Bachelor of Science in biology at DePaul University in 2004 and completed her Master of Public Health in 2009 from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

BOLD SOLUTION: Jessica worked with her team members to streamline cumbersome processes that added little value to the customer’s experience. They turned paper-based client testing data into an electronic database, which helped improve customer service and increase their ability to query performance measure data. Knowing traditional clinic hours don’t always meet the needs of the customers, she also adjusted clinic operation hours to offer services in the evening. This simple change made it easier for many of the highest-risk clients to access essential sexual health services.
I am excited to help discover new ways to increase the use of technology, diversify and sustain revenue sources, and challenge staff to work differently with their colleagues and customers. The opportunity to think creatively about unconventional public health partners and innovative solutions to longstanding issues invigorates me!