Mark Adams, Lorain County Health Commissioner

Mark Adams’ passion for public health and service is one that’s part of his family’s legacy. As the Lorain County Health Department’s newest health commissioner, he’s dedicated to bridging the diversity gap to health care and spreading the word about what the department offers every resident, no matter their health concerns.

What are the goals you hope to achieve as health commissioner?

I have three very specific missions.

The first is to reduce infant mortality in the county. We shouldn’t have babies dying before they’re a year old. [Our team] will encourage moms to see a doctor before their third trimester to prevent pre-term births.

The second is two-fold. I want to get public health professionals back into the schools to have them teach students about the profession, and, in turn, perhaps more students may consider a career in public health.

The third is to expand partnerships with colleges and universities to create public health programming and internships in the field.

We need more individuals to consider a career in public health. Currently, there is a shortage in the field.

What are the health challenges facing Lorain County?

Health statistics indicate that just about every health indicator we have, including heart disease and diabetes, has taken a downturn. There’s clearly racial disparity existing between black and brown and white populations.

What are some initiatives you hope to launch?

We’re going to re-manage the way we handle the county’s health statistics. Much of our work will now be driven by data. Instead of looking at the fact that we make cancer-screening trucks accessible to residents, we’re going to look specifically at where cancer-clusters are in the county. And we’ll be talking to obstetricians to let them know we’re having a problem getting the word out about the importance of prenatal care, and ask for their help.

Jeff Riddell, Lorain County Commissioner

A lifelong Lorain County resident living in Henrietta Township, new commissioner Jeff Riddell is making it his mission to establish an accountable governmental chain of command and continue to make the area a burgeoning mecca for new industry and job growth.

What are three goals you hope to accomplish?

We hope to get the [political] organization of the county back on a sure foot. Second, we’d like to develop the infrastructure throughout the entire county in such a way that it can attract corporations and long-term generational jobs like we used to have at the steel mill. Third, we’ll be reorganizing our meetings so they’re easily accessible to the public. Many will be held in the evening, and there will be onscreen presentations so residents can see what we’re doing and where the money we’re spending is going. I’d like to leave this position in four years having greatly improved the public trust of the commissioners and county government.

What are your favorite spots to visit with your family?

At our age in life, my wife and I enjoy the fine restaurants that have developed through the efforts of the culinary programs at the Lorain County Joint Vocational School and Lorain County Community College. We, along with our four adult children and six grandchildren, also enjoy visiting the Lorain County Metro Parks and attending festivals held annually throughout the county.

What do you like best about Lorain County?

I returned to Lorain County after graduating from Penn State because as I was growing up, our nickname was ‘the greatest location in the nation,’ and the area between Sandusky and Cleveland was called ‘the golden crescent’ because of Lake Erie. Within an hour, you can be at the Milan Melon Festival, downtown Cleveland for sports and fine arts and out on the lake heading to the islands. If [a destination] is not within an hour, it doesn’t exist