Gallatin City-County Board of Health

Click each board member’s name for more details.

Chief Executive Officer, Cancer Support Community Montana

  • Appointed by: City Commission
  • Term Expiration: 01/11/2010 – 01/01/2024
  • Education: M.A. in Organizational Leadership
  • Professional Background: CEO of Cancer Support Community Montana since 2006; Prevention Specialist
  • When asked why she volunteers for the Board of Health, she said, “The health of the community is a vital piece in our ability to live well. Individuals can have high aspirations about living a healthy, happy life, but the environment and the community must support healthy choices for all people in an equitable manner. Public Health plays a critical role to assure that health is protected.”

Director of Community Development and Administration, Community Health Partners

  • Appointed by: City Commission
  • Term: 01/01/2002 – 01/01/2023
  • Education: B.S. in Journalism from University of Kansas; Master’s in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Professional Background: Buck has worked in community and public health for 30 years in Chicago and Gallatin County looking at interventions to best serve all members of a community. Buck is also a licensed EMT and serves as an assistant fire chief for Fort Ellis Fire/Rescue in Bozeman.
  • When asked why Buck volunteers for the Board of Health, he said, “Public health studies and works to benefit populations and sub-populations in our communities. As an advocate for underserved populations, it is important to consider who might and might not benefit from policy decisions.”

Professor Emeritus, Earth Sciences Department, Montana State University 

  • Appointed by: City & County Commission
  • Term: 01/03/2012 – 01/01/2024
  • Education: B.S. in Geology from Lawrence University; M.S. in Geology from University of California, Berkeley; Ph.D. in Geology from University of Montana
  • Professional Background: Steve has an extensive background in geology, groundwater, surface water, and soils. His research has focused on groundwater hydrology in Montana and Gallatin County. Steve is currently retired. During his career, he worked with MSU students on a funded Water Resources Research Center project to create a website to asses which sites in Gallatin County are suitable for septic tanks.
  • When asked why Steve volunteers for the Board of Health, he said, “I have always believed that public service was an important part of my job as a professor at a Land Grant institution.  I have served on a variety of boards and committees. When I retired, I was asked to apply to serve on the Board of Health.  I currently act as the Chair on the Environmental Health Subcommittee for the Board of Health and as the Board of Health representative on the Local Water Quality District Board. I sincerely hope that this service has benefited the community in which I live.  I know I have learned a lot from this service.”
  • Appointed by: County Commission
  • Term: 03/27/2013 – 01/01/2022
  • Education: B.S. in Biology from Montana State University
  • Professional Background: Joe brings 9 years’ of experience on the County Planning Board, 16 years’ experience as a Gallatin County Commissioner, and a vast knowledge of public meeting processes.
  • When asked why Joe volunteers for the Board of Health, he said, “I can contribute with knowledge of public meeting process and to have an elected official to represent Gallatin county taxpayers and residents.”
  • Appointed by: County Commission
  • Term: 01/04/2017 – 01/01/2023
  • Education: B.A. in Biological Anthropology and M.A. in Social Anthropology from Stanford University, M.S. in Ecology and Ph.D. in Environmental Health from Montana State University
  • Professional Background: Mari has expertise in metals, nitrate and microbial contamination of water sources, health impacts of climate change, risk assessment, and scientific research. She conducts research in partnership with underserved communities to understand and address environmental threats to public health. Mari has taught college science since 1996 including courses in biology, ecology, environmental science, environmental health, and global health.
  • When asked why Mari volunteers for the Board of Health, she said, “I joined the Board of Health to give back to our community, understanding that community wellbeing and environmental health are inseparable. As an environmental health scientist, I can contribute by researching, integrating, sharing, and discussing research and data relevant to our decisions. I’m committed to advocating for health equity and environmental justice and to supporting the work of our excellent Health Department.”
  • Appointed by: City Commission
  • Term: 01/22/2018 – 01/01/2022
  • Education: B.A. in International Trade from Chang-Won National University in South Korea; studied economics at University of Montana and Statistics at Montana State University – Billings
  • Professional Background: I-Ho brings 7 years of experience as a City Commissioner.
  • When asked why I-Ho volunteers for the Board of Health, she said, “I have been working in the fermented food industry and as a small business owner for years. I am very interested in improving public health and I joined the Board as an elected official to represent the City of Bozeman.”

System Manager of Community Health Improvement and Partnerships, Bozeman Health

  • Appointed by: County Commission
    *Christopher serves on the Board of Health as a citizen appointee by the County Commission. Although he is also Bozeman City Commissioner, he is not the City Commission liaison to the Board of Health.
  • Term: 01/15/2019 – 01/01/2022
  • Education: B.S. in Community Health, Masters of Public Health
  • Professional Background: Christopher works as the system manager of community health improvement and partnerships with Bozeman Health. He brings years of experience working at the community level to improve health and wellness, with a focus on health equity.
  • When asked why Christopher volunteers for the Board of Health, he said, “I was raised in Montana, and it’s really important to me that our communities are healthy. Serving on the Board of Health is one way I can use my education and experience to give back to Gallatin County and to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live and play in communities that promote and facilitate wellness.”
  • Appointed by: County Commission
  • Term: 02/02/2021 – 01/01/2024
  • Education: A.S. in Engineering from Flathead Community College; B.S. in Civil Engineering from Montana State University
  • Professional Background: Chris has 28 years of professional civil engineering experience and is licensed in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming and North Dakota.
  • When asked why Chris volunteers for the Board of Health, he said, “I felt that having a Civil Engineer on the Board would provide additional diversity and experience, especially when reviewing environmental issues.”

Gallatin City-County Board of Health Administrative Staff

  • Lori Christenson, Health Officer
  • Anna Snyder, Human Services Director

Resolution 2021-004 – Appointment of the interim Gallatin City-County Health Officer by the City of Bozeman and Gallatin County Commissions.

Resolution Recommending Appointment of the Gallatin City-County Health Officer by the City of Bozeman and Gallatin County

Gallatin City-County Board of Health Health Officer:

The Gallatin City-County Board of Health finalized its search for a new health officer with an interview process reviewing 13 applicants and three finalists. The Board of Health voted to recommend the appointment of Ms. Lori Christenson as the new Gallatin City-County Health Officer. Ms. Christenson was approved through a unanimous vote by the Gallatin County Commission as well as the City of Bozeman Commission on June 8, 2021.

During the Gallatin County Commissioners meeting, Commissioner Zach Brown said, “I fully expect Lori to be a good partner to us, the community, and the county as we work through all the challenges over the next few months.”

Ms. Christenson had been serving as the interim health officer after the departure of former health officer Matt Kelley. She has over 12 years of experience in public health, seven of those at Gallatin City-County Health Department (GCCHD) with her most recent role being the director of Environmental Health Services.

Prior to joining GCCHD, Ms. Christenson worked to address social determinants of health as manager of the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, helping to expand and strengthen programs to address hunger among seniors, children, and others in need.

“The challenges of being the Gallatin City-County Health Officer are not lost on me. Between managing the continued COVID-19 pandemic to ballooning growth in Gallatin County, lots of changes are expected,” said Ms. Christenson. “I’m fully aware there are a lot more needs out there that we haven’t thoroughly understood or addressed, but I’m very excited to meet those challenges and start making great changes in Gallatin County.”

Ms. Christenson has experience managing grants, mass media campaigns, program and prevention management, community leadership and engagement, and she has extensive experience in emergency preparedness taking on numerous leadership roles during the COVID-19 pandemic here in Gallatin County.

Ms. Christenson’s academic achievements include:

  • Master’s degree in public health through New Mexico State University in Las Cruces
  • Bachelors of science in resource conservation through University of Montana in Missoula
  • State of Montana registered sanitarian

About the Board

The City-County Board of Health is created under an Interlocal Agreement between Gallatin County and the City of Bozeman, dated June, 1990, as amended under the Interlocal Agreement dated May 12, 1997, pursuant to the provisions of Section 50-2-106, M.C.A.

The Board is:

  • Comprised of nine members serving staggered three-year terms, as follows:

(1) a County Commissioner or representative,
(2) a City Commissioner or representative,
(3) three members appointed by the County Commission,
(4) three members appointed by the City Commission, and
(5) one member appointed jointly by the City and County Commissions.

  • Administrative
  • Responsible for appointing a Health Officer and ensuring that the necessary qualified staff is employed, within budget constraints
  • Responsible for activities ensuring the health of the community, including guarding against the introduction of communicable diseases and providing for the removal of filth that might adversely affect public health.

The Health Department operates under the County and its personnel manual.

For additional information, contact the Gallatin City-County Health Department at (406) 582-3100.

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