Monty Health Officer Announces Retirement
By Barbara A. Preston l September 28, 2021
Stephanie D. Carey has served as Montgomery Township Health Officer since 2004. After working around-the-clock, seven days a week to guide Montgomery and nearby towns through the COVID-19 pandemic, she says she will retire on October 31.
In her 17 years as health officer, she leaves a long list of public health accomplishments. Perhaps her most significant: She led Montgomery Township to a 91 percent adult COVID-19 vaccination rate by July 4, versus a national rate of only 70 percent for the same date. “It also was the best rate among all 18 Somerset County municipalities with populations of more than 1,000 resident,” says Montgomery spokesperson Bradford Fay.
Under Carey’s guidance, her department’s staff administered more than 3,000 of those vaccination shots. She also employed the township’s communications professionals to advocate and actively encourage residents to get vaccinated at statewide mega-sites, regional clinics, and local pharmacies.
Mayor Devra Keenan honored Carey at the September 23 Montgomery Township Committee meeting. She read aloud a resolution lauding Carey for making sure township residents were “made fully aware of the devastating effects of the (COVID-19) disease, as well as organizing many vaccination clinics within Montgomery Township, Hopewell and Pennington boroughs.”
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Carey says “it has been an honor to be able to serve this community. I leave behind a department that is larger and more robust.” Carey leaves the department in the hands of Devangi Patel, her deputy, who will assume the director position on November 1.
Highlights of Carey’s Career
Under her leadership, the Montgomery Health Department (MTHD) provided “full services” to three municipalities, and some services to other townships MTHD was awarded the largest amount of grant funding in the history of the Montgomery to support expanded capacity by 50 percent to 12 staffers for pandemic response.
Under Carey’s leadership, the MTHD earned national accreditation from the Public Health Accreditation Board. Only 10 percent of health departments are able to earn this accreditation. “This is a Houston or Chicago-sized accomplishment for us,” according to a prepared statement from the health department.
Carey published “Said to Be” in Natural History Magazine, an article focused on the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic as part of a special centennial issue.
Carey was elected president of the NJ Association of County and City Public Health Officials.