Public Health Advisory Board


The Public Health Advisory Board shall serve in an advisory capacity to the Health Department in the following areas:

  1. Provide input to the local board of health in the recruitment and selection of an administrative officer, pursuant to RCW 70.05.045, and local health officer, pursuant to RCW 70.05.050;
  2. Use a health equity framework to conduct, assess, and identify the community health needs of the jurisdiction, and review and recommend public health policies and priorities for the local health jurisdiction and advisory board to address community health needs;
  3. Evaluate the impact of proposed public health policies and programs, and assure identified health needs and concerns are being met;
  4. Promote public participation in and identification of local public health needs;
  5. Provide community forums and hearings as assigned by the local board of health;
  6. Establish community task forces as assigned by the local board of health;
  7. Review and make recommendations to the local health jurisdiction and local board of health for an annual budget and fees; and
  8. Review and advise on local health jurisdiction progress in achieving performance measures and outcomes to ensure continuous quality improvement and accountability.


  • The committee meets monthly, except for months in which the County Health Board meets. See website calendar for meeting dates and times.
  • See the agenda center for information on how to attend and/or participate
  • The public is invited to email written comments on agenda items or other topics of interest to the Public Health Advisory Board at [email protected]. Please put “PHAB Public Comment” in the subject line. Written comments received at least 48 hours before the meeting will be distributed to board members prior to the meeting. Oral comments from the public will be limited to topics on the agenda.


The Public Health Advisory Board has 21 members, appointed by the County Council and includes one member from the Board of Health and one Public Health Officer. 

The current members are:

  • Barry Buchanan, Health Board ex officio
  • Dr. Greg Thompson, Health Officer ex officio
  • Steve Bennett
  • Sterling Chick
  • Lindsey Karas
  • Edna Revey
  • Shu-Ling Zhao
  • Leah Wainman
  • Emily O'Connor
  • Teri Bryant
  • Christine Espina
  • R. Michael Massanari
  • Vesla Tonnessen
  • Adrienne Renz
  • Ashley Thomasson
  • Guy Occhiogrosso
  • Chris Kobdish
  • Jeffery Hart
  • Madison Emry
  • Robyn Phillips-Madson


The members of the Public Health Advisory Board must be residents of and registered voters in  Whatcom county.

Membership preference shall be given to tribal, racial, ethnic, and other minorities. The advisory board shall consist of a balance of persons with expertise, career experience, and consumer experience in areas impacting public health and with populations served by the health department, including healthcare access and quality; physical environment, including built and natural environments; social and economic sectors, including housing, basic needs, education, and employment; business and philanthropy; communities that experience health inequities; government, and; tribal communities and tribal government. The board’s composition shall include: 

  • Members with expertise and experience in the areas listed above
  • Consumers of public health services
  • Community members with lived experience in the areas listed above
  • Community stakeholders, including nonprofit organizations, the business community, and those regulated by public health


Term Information

  • 3-year terms, limit of 2 consecutive full terms