0965 Department Head V - Director of Public Health

Recruitment #PEX-0965-903109


Director of Public Health
0965 – Department Head V


Department of Public Health

The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) is the largest department within the City and County of San Francisco. With an annual operating budget of $2.2 billion, SFDPH employs over 8,000 people, and contracts for more than $400 million in community-based services.

The San Francisco Health Department is an integrated health department with two major divisions to fulfill its mission of protecting and promoting the health of all San Franciscans:

  • The San Francisco Health Network (SFHN) includes top-rated hospitals, clinics and programs that provide medical, mental health, and substance abuse services to over 100,000 individuals. SFHN includes Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, the only local Level 1 trauma center for San Francisco, and Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, the largest public skilled nursing facility in the country; and
  • The SFDPH Population Health Division (PHD), which earned public health accreditation in 2017, carries out traditional and mandatory public health functions such as: consumer safety activities; health promotion and prevention; inspections of food, alcohol, and cannabis businesses; promote improved air and water quality; promote pedestrian safety; HIV prevention, research, and surveillance; TB prevention and treatment; Emergency Medical Services; and analysis of community public health data.

SFDPH’s central administrative functions, including finance, human resources, information technology, and policy and planning, support and promote integration between SFDPH’s two divisions. The SFDPH is committed to providing quality health care and public health services to all San Franciscans regardless of immigration or insurance status. For further information about SFDPH, visit San Francisco Department of Public Health.


The Position

Under broad policy direction from the Health Commission and the Mayor, the Director of Public Health plans, organizes, directs, and evaluates all functions and activities of the Department, including: hospitals, primary care, mental health services, substance use services, jail health services, preventative health services, emergency medical services, environmental health, and other population health functions.

The Director is responsible for management of a $2.2 billion budget and 8,000 + employee department, as well as administration of $400 million in health services contracts.

Additionally, the Director of Public Health directs the enforcement of all public health laws, ordinances and regulations; oversees budget preparation for approval of the Commission; establishes and maintains community and professional interest in public health matters; develops policies and programs to address the needs of SFDPH and the health of the community.

The essential functions of this position include:

  • Executive Leadership: Leads the Public Health department; develops and recommends general health policies for approval by the Health Commission; works with the Mayor and Health Commission on strategies to implement health policies and initiatives that advance San Francisco’s public health goals; and collaborates with the Board of Supervisors on health issues facing San Franciscans.
  • Visionary with Strong Implementation Skills: Provides a vision to continue the innovative and ground-breaking legacy of the San Francisco Health Department. Establishes and maintains strategic short and long-term goals, objectives and plans that are culturally and technologically relevant for carrying out departmental functions, consistent with overall City and County of San Francisco strategic goals.
  • Operational Responsibilities: Plans, organizes, directs, controls, and reviews the operation of all departmental functions and activities including San Francisco Health Network, Population Health Division and Central Administration; ensures compliance with a broad range of regulations and policies.
  • Collaborative Manager: Supervises division leadership, deputy directors, institutional administrators, and staff with wide-ranging responsibilities throughout the department. Promotes the highest standards for interpersonal relations, including effective listening skills, high degree of emotional intelligence, teamwork, negotiation, and problem-solving.
  • Administrative Excellence: Directs the development of the annual budget and capital improvement programs for Commission consideration and approval; recommends contractual services, and is responsible for the implementation, control, monitoring and evaluation of services.
  • Political Awareness: Communicates regularly with the Mayor in regard to SFDPH’s activities; coordinates program and policy efforts with other city departments; works constructively and collaboratively with the Board of Supervisors, community groups and stakeholders toward San Francisco’s public health goals.
  • Builds and manages the relationship with the University of California, San Francisco: Manages, supports, and enhances the 150 year relationship between the Department of Public Health and the University of California, San Francisco. Works to strengthen ties, foster new partnerships and increase collaboration between the two organizations.
  • Partner with the Community: Collaborates with the community to address community health needs; devises programs using effective harm reduction strategies that respond to the needs of diverse communities of San Francisco with particular attention to underserved populations, health equity, and those with special health care needs; understands the impact of social determinants of health on the San Francisco community.
  • Health Policy Leader: Provides leadership and public health expertise in the local policy-making and legislative process, as well as advocacy and engagement in state and federal health policy or regulatory changes impacting the department or the community. Understands, advocates, and actively participates in a broad range of planning to address health issues as they pertain to diverse populations, including issues impacting the health and wellbeing of underserved populations.
  • When the Director of Public Health is a licensed physician, performs the duties of the County Health Officer as required by California Code. These duties include: enforces orders, regulations, rules and statutes, and takes preventive measures during an emergency, pursuant to California Code. If the Director of Public Health is a non-physician, a physician is appointed to perform the functions of the County Health Officer.


Experience and Education

Education: Possession of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.

Experience: 8 – 10 years of leadership experience in a large, health organization including supervisory experience.


Desirable Qualifications

  • M.D., D.O. or master’s degree in health administration, public health or a related field.
  • Experience in clinical integration, access, quality of healthcare and cost of health care issues; thorough understanding of clinical practice and patient care.
  • Demonstrated diplomacy and sensitivity in communicating with elected officials, community organizations, and various stakeholders.
  • Experience developing health policy and understanding of public health research.
  • Effective interpersonal and communication skills which demonstrate an ability to work successfully across the organization and community.
  • Cultural humility and understanding of issues confronting diverse communities, including underserved populations; experience working with and commitment to diverse, community based non-profit organizations.
  • Experience with leading organizational change or process improvement, including experience and/or training in Lean methodologies.
  • Successful experience working within a unionized labor environment; experience negotiating with unions and building and enhancing partnerships with labor.
  • Senior leadership role in another public health agency.


Appointment Type

This is an exempt position within the City and County of San Francisco’s civil service system. The Director of Public Health is the administrative head of San Francisco Department of Public Health and serves at the pleasure of the Mayor and the Health Commission.


Compensation and Benefits

The annual salary range for the Director of Public Health is $243,490 to $310,726. Appointments above this range may be considered for a top candidate. For further discussion, inquiries on compensation should be directed to Berkeley Search Consultants. Moving and relocation expenses may be available for the selected candidate. The City & County of San Francisco’s (CCSF) benefits package can be found at: Municipal Executives' Association Benefit Summary.

Other outstanding benefits offered with this position include:

  • Medical, Dental and Life Insurance; Long-term Disability Plan;
  • Defined Retirement Plan; Deferred Compensation; and Social Security;
  • Paid Management Training Program; Wellness Program;
  • Vacation/Holiday/Sick Time; and Administrative Leave.


Application and Selection Process

This is a confidential process and will be handled accordingly throughout the various stages of the process. References will not be contacted until mutual interest has been established. This position will be considered “open” until a final selection is made. Candidates must apply by November 5, 2018. Electronic submittals to director-sfdph@berkeleysearch.com are strongly preferred and should include the following:

  • Compelling cover letter; and
  • Comprehensive resume

After resume submittal, candidates will be sent a set of supplemental questions to complete. Only the most highly qualified candidates will be invited for an interview with the Health Commission. Interviews by the Commission are planned for mid-December. Top contenders will be forwarded to Mayor Breed during late December 2018. Detailed background checks and an offer are anticipated during January 2019. Ideally, the new Director of Health will join SFDPH during March 2019. This timeframe is preliminary and is subject to change. Confidential inquiries and questions regarding this career opportunity should be directed to Efton Hall, Jr., Vice President Healthcare Practice Berkeley Search Consultants at ehall@berkeleysearch.com.

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