Gov. Inslee Appoints Dr. Socia Love-Thurman as Newest Member to State Board of Health, Represents Health and Sanitation Position

Governor Inslee Appoints Seattle Indian Health Board Chief Health Officer to Health and Sanitation Position

Tumwater, WA – May 25, 2022 – Governor Jay Inslee has appointed Dr. Socia Love-Thurman (Cherokee/Yuchi/Delaware), who has dedicated her career and life to advocating for equitable health care, to the Washington State Board of Health. Dr. Love-Thurman fills the position of an individual who is experienced in matters of health and sanitation on the 10-member Board.

Dr. Love-Thurman is the Chief Health Officer at the Seattle Indian Health Board where she provides care to people of all ages including prenatal care.  From promoting higher education among Native American youth during her years at the University of Oklahoma to founding the first chapter of the Association of Native American Medical Students (ANAMS) at the University of Minnesota-Duluth Medical School, Dr. Socia Love-Thurman (Cherokee/Yuchi/Delaware) has always shown her passion for education and care for her community. It was through ANAMS that she developed a mentorship program for Native medical students and physicians across the country.

“I am passionate about bringing Indigenous knowledge to the forefront of healthcare delivery that not only betters the lives of our own Native people but can positively impact our broader healthcare systems as well,” said Dr. Love-Thurman.

Pursuing her specialty training in Family Medicine at the Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB), a non-profit community health clinic whose mission statement is “For the Love of Native People,” was a natural next step. Following her training, she served as SIHB’s Residency Director for 4 years, coupling her enthusiasm in recruiting and retaining doctors who share the organization’s love and commitment to the diverse, underserved communities which visit the clinic.

“We are honored to welcome Dr. Love-Thurman to the Washington State Board of Health,” said Michelle Davis, executive director of the Board. “Her expertise, passion, and commitment to equity will help guide the Board to advance and sustain efforts to protect and improve the well-being of all people in Washington.”

The Board has declared racism a public health crisis. Members recognize racism disproportionally impacts Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and that racism has prevented communities of color from thriving and achieving their optimal health for centuries. The Board is committed to listening to, learning from, and partnering with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led organizations to dismantle institutional racism and improve diversity, equity, and inclusion within our Board. Read the full statement on our website.

Dr. Love-Thurman’s full biography is available on our website. The next Board meeting will be June 8. A draft agenda will be disseminated May 25. Subscribe to our email distribution list, visit our website, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get the latest news and information about Board meetings and rulemaking projects.

Established by the state constitution in 1889, the State Board of Health has served the people of Washington for 133 years, providing leadership and advancing public health practices that protect and improve the public’s health. Our work focuses on analyzing policies, developing rules, promoting partnerships, and encouraging public engagement in the public health system.