Sherri Young, D.O.

WVSOM alumna named cabinet secretary of West Virginia Department of Health

Sherri Young, D.O., a West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) Class of 2003 alumna, was named cabinet secretary of the newly formed West Virginia Department of Health by Gov. Jim Justice. This is one of three new departments that will replace the Department of Health and Human Resources in January 2024 as mandated by the passage of House Bill 2006.

In this role, Young will oversee the Bureau for Public Health, Office of Emergency Medical Services, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Center for Threat Preparedness, Health Care Authority, Office of Inspector General and Human Rights Commission.

After graduating from WVSOM, she completed a family medicine residency at Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC). She is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

“We are extremely proud of Dr. Young and the leadership she is providing to West Virginia,” said James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., WVSOM’s president. “Her expertise as a physician and experience in public health are second to none. She has demonstrated her commitment to serving communities to improve the quality of health care.”

During the governor’s press announcement, Young said she looks forward to this new role. She said that as a physician, she understands that the health systems and services available are only part of the equation for a patient’s overall health.

“As a physician, I can tell you that being in a physician’s office and getting your medications — that’s 20 percent of what helps a person to become healthy,” Young said. “The other 80 percent is where they eat, where they are able to get their health care, and if they have transportation. We have work to do.”

Young has dedicated a significant part of her career to health policy roles, seeking ways to improve the care patients receive and address the challenges they face to be healthier. As the executive director and health officer of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, she was the first woman and first osteopathic physician in this position, where she led efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Dr. Young took a hands-on approach by talking with people in the community as she administered testing and vaccinations,” said Nemitz. “She led by doing and overseeing the coordinated efforts by health care teams and the health department. She was a crucial part of the public health care response in our state.”

Young most recently served as the associate chief medical officer and clinical leader of the CAMC West Virginia Health Network, now known as the Vandalia Health Network. She was West Virginia’s first state immunization officer and is considered one of the state’s leading experts in immunizations.

Young’s colleagues elected her president of the West Virginia State Medical Association, the state’s largest medical society. She is also a past president of the West Virginia Academy of Family Physicians and the Kanawha Medical Association. Currently, she serves as a board member for the WVSOM Foundation. She has received numerous accolades acknowledging her leadership in health care.