NASHVILLE, Tenn., August 18, 2014 – The Metropolitan Nashville Board of Health elected a new board chair and vice chair at its meeting on August 14th. Board members elected Samuel L. Felker, JD, as the new board chair, and Carol Etherington as vice chair.

The role of the Board of Health is to administer and control public health for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

Felker is a shareholder in Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, and Berkowitz, PC.  He is a member of the firm’s Product Liability/Mass Tort Group. For more than 30 years, Felker has focused his litigation practice on the defense of product liability, food safety, mass torts and commercial cases. In pharmaceutical and medical device litigation, Felker has served as national, regional and local counsel in defending manufacturers throughout the United States. During the course of his career, Felker has also represented clients in significant commercial litigation involving insurance coverage, securities fraud, breach of contract, theft of trade secrets, defamation and intellectual property.

"I am honored by this selection," he told O&AN. "This is a very important time for the Metro Health Department as we transition into our amazing new building on Charlotte Avenue." The Lentz Public Health Center recently moved to 2500 Charlotte Avenue.

Felker has served on the Board of Health for the past six years. He earned his Law Degree from the University of Virginia, School of Law, and is active in numerous community organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, Tennessee Equality Project, Stonewall Bar Association, the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce and Nashville Cares.

"People often ask me what we do," he said, "and I tell them that the Health Department touches their lives in countless ways. Our programs include vaccinations, food safety, emergency preparedness, air quality, animal control, healthy and active living, STD education and prevention, and administering the Ryan White Act funding for HIV prevention and treatment, just to name a few."

Etherington was recently appointed for a second term on the Board of Health by Mayor Karl Dean. Both Etherington and new member Francisca Guzmán​ were recently confirmed by Metro Council to a five-year term. Guzmán replaces Bill Hance, whose term ended in July after serving as a Board member since 2000 and Board Chair for the past 10 years.

Etherington retires this month from the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health as Associate Professor of Nursing, Emerita. She has also worked extensively with MSF/Doctors Without Borders and served as President of their USA Board of Directors. Guzmán currently is the Media and Development advisor for the Disability Law & Advocacy Center (DLAC), a nonprofit legal services organization for people with disabilities. She also coordinates the agency’s minority outreach activities. 

There are six Board of Health members including Ruth C. Stewart, M.D., Henry W. Foster, Jr., M.D., and Alicia Batson, M.D., in addition to Felker, Etherington and Guzmán.






This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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