KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri has selected a new director for its municipal health department.
The city announced Friday that Dr. Marvia Jones, who previously served as the violence prevention and policy manager for the department, will succeed Dr. Rex Archer.
Archer retired in August after 23 years with the KCMO Health Department.
Jones will officially ascend to health director on Monday, Feb. 14, becoming the first Black woman in KCMO history to serve in the role.
“My vision for the department is to continue to develop innovative and responsive strategies for public health needs that center the many different communities we serve, even if this means taking a look outside of traditional measures,” Jones said in a statement. “Community engagement is integral to public health because it demonstrates to residents that they have value, and that their voice is respected. Community engagement centralizes residents as partners.”
Jones, who joined the KCMO Health Department in 2019, has worked in the public-health sector for 15 years, including a stint with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
She helped evaluate prevention tools that the CDC provides to state and local health departments and helped develop recommendations for best practices within the public-health sector.
“Dr. Jones will continue the legacy of excellence and leadership by the KCHD, and her expertise will bring a renewed commitment to sustainable violence prevention programs that Kansas City residents are looking for,” City Manager Brian Platt said in a statement.
Prior to her work for the city, Jones worked at Communities Creating Opportunities, which advocates for equity in a variety of areas for underserved zip codes in Kansas City, as a program director and policy evaluator.
In her current role with the KCMO Health Department, Jones oversees nearly 40 employee, who focus on several areas of public health policy that include violence prevention and community education aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19.
She also has played a role in KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas' Reform KC efforts.
Dr. Marvia Jones is the right person to lead Kansas City’s Health Department as we continue our work to build a City for the future: a City committed to equitable healthcare delivery, violence-free neighborhoods, and healthy homes for Kansas City families in all zip codes.
Not only does Dr. Jones have vital and extensive experience in mental health and violence prevention as Kansas City’s Violence Prevention and Policy Manager, she has also worked at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and recognizes the role all levels of health and scientific leadership play in keeping our communities healthy and safe.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, we have seen the leadership role the Kansas City Health Department plays in regional policymaking in both Missouri and Kansas, and I am certain Kansas City and our region will look to Dr. Jones as we continue our work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Jones, Kansas City’s first Black woman Health Director, will enhance Kansas City's longstanding commitment to public health for all Kansas City families — families like mine who relied on the Kansas City Health Department for immunizations and so many other healthcare needs — with a particular understanding of vulnerable populations and those who may have historic distrust of our healthcare systems. I look forward to working with Dr. Jones in her new capacity.
Jones, originally from Florida, has lived in Kansas City for most of the last 12 years, except for a period of time when she completed a fellowship with the CDC. She earned a master’s degree in public health and a doctorate from the University of Kansas.