GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — We are hearing from Pitt County’s new health director, Wes Gray. Monday was his first official day on the job.

Gray had a busy first day that continued Monday with an update to the Pitt County Board of Commissioners at their meeting.

“I have an agriculture background, I have been with the Department of Agriculture about 8 years, I’m really interested in healthy foods and access to farmer’s markets,” Gray said. “Healthy eating opportunities, community gardens, things like that. I think one big thing we can do to combat chronic disease and things like diabetes is improve the diet and improve people’s access to those types of foods.”

New Pitt County Health Director Wes Gray (Davis Suppes, WNCT photo)

Gray takes over for Teresa Ellen, who has served as interim health director since April 10. She replaced Dr. John Silvernail, who announced on March 28 that he was resigning.

Gray had been employed by Martin-Tyrrell-Washington District Health Department since 2017 serving as Health Director. Previous work experience includes Human Services Planner/Evaluator II with Albemarle Regional Health Services in Elizabeth City, and related positions with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Gray said his mission in Pitt County is not just the health of the community but developing the staff as well. 

“What I really want to accomplish here in Pitt County is working with ECU, working with Pitt Community College, work with hospital systems, improve the workforce, especially in health care and in public health workforce, develop nursing talent and the talent to really impact chronic disease in the county,” Gray said. “That’s my big goal to work for is improving this workforce. As people retire, we want people to come along and take those positions back and really be a benefit to the community. So that’s going to be my goal for the next few years.”

Gray also said he can’t wait to make a great impact to the people and the health here in Pitt County.