Bilow Reflects On 38 Years With Public Health Agency

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There's a saying - maybe more of a motto - at Jefferson County Public Health in Watertown:

"If you don't like what you're doing right now, wait about five minutes and you'll be doing something different," said agency Director Jean Bilow.

They are words to live by for Bilow, who has been with the department for 38 years.

She has been director since 1980.

But that changes now.

Saying the timing is right, Bilow is looking at retirement.

"There's been many programs added, services, responses to communicable diseases," said Bilow.

In nearly four decades, Bilow has seen just about everything from H1N1 to the West Nile virus.

But a 1992 outbreak of meningitis left a lasting memory.

"(We) vaccinated almost 50,000 people in about a three week time frame," said Bilow.

Bilow does plan to stay on in some capacity, helping the new director, Ginger Hall, take over.

It's something she has already been doing for years.

"Jean always evaluates every step that she's going to make and looks at all the potential consequences, events that are going to occur and then makes that decision. So she's very thorough," said Hall.

As for Bilow, she says she is ready for whatever the future brings.

If the past has been any indicator, something different will probably be coming along sooner than later.

Friday, April 18, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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