Contra Costa County Health confirmed Friday that Dr. Chris Farnitano has retired and will be recognized by the Board of Supervisors in March for his years of service. The announcement went out internally to staff last week.
Per an internal memo, Dr. Ori Tzvieli will now fill the role. He was Farnitano’s top deputy health officer during the pandemic.
This is a copy of a email that went out on January 14 from Health Director Anna Roth to Contra Costa Health Services staff.
Please join me in congratulating Dr. Chris Farnitano, who is retiring after more than 30 years caring for Contra Costa County residents.
During the past two years, Chris capably led our pandemic response and courageously enacted health policies that have saved hundreds, if not thousands, of lives in our county.
He has also been a grounding presence at Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS), maintaining an always-calm demeanor amid the chaos created by the pandemic.
Chris became the county health officer in July 2018, after serving previously as Ambulatory Care Medical Director at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center & Health Centers, Assistant Residency Program Director, Family Medicine Department Chair and other leadership roles during a 30+ year career at CCRMC.
In 1997 he helped start and staff the county’s first HIV medicine clinic at Pittsburg Health Center, and his career has included extensive experience in hospital care, obstetrics, emergency medicine and outpatient care. He has spent his entire career to date serving Contra Costa County, including completion of his family medicine residency at what was then Merrithew Memorial Hospital in Martinez.
Chris is stepping away from his role as county health officer. Fortunately for us, we have an equally capable leader to fill in as acting health officer: Dr. Ori Tzvieli, our Public Health Director, who has served as Dr. Farnitano’s top deputy health officer during the pandemic. I am grateful to Dr. Tzvieli for stepping into this role.
On a personal note, I will greatly miss working with Chris and I wish him the best as heads into the next chapter of his life. Please join me in saying thank you to a good friend and fierce advocate for good health for all in Contra Costa County.
Farnitano joins several other health officers who have either retired or resigned during the pandemic:
- California Public Health Director: Dr. Sonia Angell resigned in April 2020.
- Butte County – Public health officer Dr. Andy Miller announced his resignation effective July 10 according to a County press release
- Humbolt County: Dr. Teresa Frankovich resigned only 8 months after taking the job. She resigned in September of 2020.
- Nevada County – Dr. Ken Cutler, announced retirement in July noting he had been planning to retire prior to the pandemic.
- Orange County – Public health director David Souleles announced his retirement effective May 1, 2020.
- San Benito County – announced on April 28 that that interim Public Health Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib resigned from office.
- Shasta County: Public Health Director Brandy Isola resigned in May 29, 2020.
- Yolo County – Dr. Ron Chapman announced his retirement as of June 20, 2020 according to a County Press Release