The Washington Academy of Family Physicians is alarmed by recent actions of the administrative leadership of the Spokane Regional Health District to move to terminate the employment of Spokane County Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz. Removing a long-standing and capable health officer amid an ongoing pandemic risks hastening the already devastating effects of COVID-19.

As the largest medical specialty society in Washington, WAFP represents family medicine — the action arm of public health. Public health leaders across the country and at all levels of government are under threat because of the stresses posed by this pandemic. WAFP sympathizes with the many Washingtonians who face extraordinary financial burdens caused by COVID-19, family physicians and other medical staff among them.

WAFP unconditionally supports a robust statewide public health system with continuous leadership from qualified public health officials using science- and evidence-based interventions to combat this pandemic. The most direct route to a full economic recovery will be achieved by eliminating the spread of infection. Undermining the efforts of leading public health officials will serve only to prolong the pandemic and delay a full societal recovery.