Nominee for Montgomery Co.’s health officer has deep roots in the community

Dr. Kisha Davis has been nominated to be the new health officer for Montgomery County, Maryland. (Courtesy Maryland Academy of Family Physicians)

The Montgomery County, Maryland, native nominated to be the county’s new health officer has practiced medicine in the county where she was born and raised; her family goes back multiple generations.

“When I think about medical practice, it is about the patient that is sitting in front of you, but it is also about the community that surrounds you — because really, they are all your patients,” said Dr. Kisha Davis.

Nominated by Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, Davis also enjoys the support of County Council President Gabe Albornoz. She’ll succeed Dr. Travis Gayles.

“We will be interviewing Dr. Davis formally on Nov. 15 and plan on taking action that same day so that Dr. Davis can get to work as soon as possible,” Albornoz told a media briefing introducing Davis on Wednesday.

As a family physician, Davis has a holistic approach to community medicine: “recognizing that part of health happens in the exam room, but a lot of health happens outside of that,” she said.

Davis said she learned early on, working with patients with diabetes, that people’s problems were bigger than her prescription pad.

“I couldn’t fix the fact that they didn’t have a safe place to walk or didn’t understand nutrition labels or didn’t have nutritious food that would help their problems,” she said.

The director of Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services, Raymond L. Crowel, said he looks forward to working with Davis.

The department works “from a prospective framework of social determinants of health,” Crowel said, which is about primary care, “but it’s also about all those things that contribute to health and well-being — an aging perspective, mental health issues, housing issues, nutrition, exercise, diet, and rest.”

Davis “will help us to make sure that there’s a better integration across the department between health and human services; elements that support health and wellbeing,” he said.

Most recently the vice president for health equity at Bethesda-based Aledade, Davis’ kids go to Montgomery County Public Schools and her husband works there.

Davis has deep roots in Montgomery County, where her grandfather’s grandfather, newly out of slavery, helped build one of the first school houses for children of color in the county.

“The legacy of service in my family goes back to just after the Civil War,” Davis said. “And for me, this position is coming full service [for] being in service to the county and the people that are here.”

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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