New health officer hired
A new health officer for Nemaha County has been hired after nearly two months of operating with an interim health officer.
At the Monday, Oct. 18, Nemaha County Commission meeting, the commissioners announced that Heaven Schuette had accepted the permanent health officer position. Schuette will begin on Wednesday, Nov. 3, at an annual salary of $60,000.
Schuette has been working as a school nurse for Prairie Hills USD No. 113 for the past five years.
“I’m excited for the change,” Schuette said. “It was a hard decision, because I love my job at the school.”
Since Wednesday, Sept. 1, Nicole Keim of Seneca has been filling in as the Interim Nemaha County Health Officer. Prior to N. Keim, Jane Sunderland of Sabetha held the position, but she announced her resignation in August 2021. Sunderland’s health officer position with Nemaha County had been contracted through Nemaha County Community Health Services (NCCHS). Sunderland held this position for 17 years.
When Sunderland resigned from her health officer position, NCCHS revised their contract with Nemaha County, which no longer included providing a health officer for the county.
Nemaha County was then tasked with hiring a new health officer and a medical advisor to the health officer. Nemaha County’s former health advisor – Dr. Kevin Kennally of Sabetha – resigned from his advisor position at the same time Sunderland resigned.
During their special meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 30, the commissioners hired N. Keim as the Interim Health Officer until Nemaha County was able to hire someone more permanent for the role.
During that same meeting, the commissioners hired Dr. Irving A. Cohen, MD, MPH, FACPM, DFASAM, as the advisor to the health officer at a cost of $1,000 per month. After one month, the commissioners decided to hire a new advisor to the health officer – Dr. Mark B. Steffen.
As of Friday, Oct. 1, Dr. Steffen is currently holding the role of advisor at no cost to Nemaha County.