Retiring Ingham County Health Director Linda Vail reflects on career

“It’s never a dull day in public health!”
Retiring Ingham County Health Director Linda Vail reflects on career
Retiring Ingham County Health Director Linda Vail reflects on career
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 6:19 PM EST
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MASON, Mich. (WILX) - Ingham County’s health director is calling it a career - and what a career it has been.

Linda Vail, who led Mid-Michigan through the COVID pandemic, is stepping down on Feb. 17.

Related: Linda Vail, Health Officer who led Ingham County through pandemic, announces retirement

Vail said she’s proud of the work that was done to protect our communities from the COVID pandemic and that masking and quarantine guidelines helped protect Mid-Michigan.

“Those measures were things that kept as many people from getting COVID all at the same time and then helped us preserve the capacity of our health system,” Vail said. “Because they were getting overwhelmed.”

She compared COVID to an invisible enemy that she went to war with to protect and save lives. Although she felt she was doing what was best, not everyone felt the same.

“I don’t think we ever imagined the challenge of that being politicized and then all of the vitriol and the anger and the hate coming out of that,” Vail said. “It was not written into my preparedness plan for a pandemic. There was not a chapter for that. It was definitely unexpected, intense, at times -- demoralizing but you just kept on going.”

What’s next for Linda Vail? She said she’s becoming a full-time grandma to her grandchildren, Ruby and Hazel.

“I’m going to be able to spend more time with them. My daughter is going off to run a marathon and the girls will still be in school, so someone needs to go take care of them for the week,” Vail said. “And guess what? I’m going to be available to do that.”

After 20 years of working in public health, Vail said her retirement years won’t be dull. She’s looking forward to her days being filled with travel and photography.

Her successor will be the current medical director Dr. Adenike Shoyinka, who will hold both positions.

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