Following a competitive selection process, Haywood County Health and Human Services Agency is pleased to announce Sarah M. Henderson, MSN, RN as its new public health director, beginning mid-March 2021.
Henderson is well acquainted with public health in Haywood County having served the county previously (2015-2017) as a public health nurse and currently as a Health and Human Services Board Member since 2018.
“We had a competitive hiring process, and Sarah Henderson stood out as the best candidate. As part of that process, we compiled a list of traits that the ideal candidate would have and Sarah Henderson has those traits. She has the kind of ‘boots on the ground’ public health experience that will help her excel here. She has a great knowledge of nursing gained through many years of practice and teaching and is ready to roll up her sleeves and work side by side with staff. She is caring and has a strong work ethic. She will look to address the needs of our community and work to meet those needs,” said Health and Human Services Agency Director Ira Dove.
Prior to accepting this role, Henderson was an assistant professor with the School of Nursing at Western Carolina University where she focused on public health nursing, acute care nursing, staff development, and education and nursing education.
She brings 16 years of nursing experience to the agency as well as experience in staff development and education. Her clinical background includes experience in acute care, emergency medicine, hospice care, pediatric home health, and geriatrics.
Henderson earned her bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) from Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia, in 2004, and her master of science in nursing (MSN) with a focus in nursing education from Western Carolina University in 2016. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in nursing leadership at the University of Southern Mississippi.
She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and has served as both the secretary and faculty counselor for Western Carolina University’s Eta Psi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau.
She also serves with Samaritan’s Purse on the Disaster Assistance Response Team and is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Henderson has sought out opportunities to serve on the frontline in addition to her role as professor, educating the next generation of nurses. For example, she recently spent time in a New York City COVID hospital, assisting there.
She and her family have lived in Haywood County since 2008.
“I am honored to have been chosen as the public health services director for Haywood County. It is a privilege to serve alongside the team of professionals at the Haywood County Health and Human Services Agency who strive every day to make our community better. I am immensely grateful and humbled by this opportunity and I’m looking forward to joining an incredible team and serving the citizens of Haywood County,” Henderson said.