Northern Kentucky Health Department hires from within queer community for its first-ever deputy director

In a groundbreaking move towards enhancing public health initiatives, the Northern Kentucky Health Department hired Fort Wright resident, and prominent member of the NKY LGBTQ+ community, Elise Sebastian, as their first-ever deputy director. On December 27, Sebastian stepped into the role, marking a notable organizational shift as the health department aims to fortify its commitment to the well-being of the region, including its work in harm reduction and testing.

As deputy director, Sebastian assumes a pivotal role in overseeing the health department’s operations, finances, and systems. This position was created to streamline and update existing structures, allowing the organization to focus on public health efforts with renewed vigor. Sebastian brings a wealth of nonprofit experience to her new role, having previously served as the program director for the Alzheimer’s Association’s 37-county Greater Cincinnati chapter and as executive director of two Northern Kentucky assisted living communities.

Sebastian is a longtime Kentucky resident, earning her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Northern Kentucky University and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Kentucky. She currently calls Ft Michell home, where she lives with her spouse Hanna and daughter Catherine.

“First of all, let me say how thrilled I am to be part of the Northern Kentucky Health Department,” she said “There are really big, important things happening here. To be able to utilize my skills and contribute to that effort is truly an honor.”

Sebastian’s passion for process improvement and system change stems from her early experiences working in a nursing home at 18. Recognizing the need for evolving outdated systems, she has consistently championed creative approaches to address challenges.

“I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to get my arms around how we can grow and make a difference in the health of the people of Northern Kentucky.”

photo courtesy of Nothern Kentucky Health Department

As the Northern Kentucky Health Department welcomes Elise Sebastian, Sebastian’s appointment signifies not only a commitment to organizational excellence but also a step towards a more inclusive and impactful healthcare landscape.

“You have to think of things in ways you never thought of before. You have to be creative with your resources. A lot of it comes down to understanding people, being able to pull folks together, and creating opportunities for growth and collaboration,” she said. “That’s why I am so excited about becoming Deputy Director for NKY Health. I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to get my arms around how we can grow and make a difference in the health of the people of Northern Kentucky.”