Kandi Buckland began working in the public health field 23 years ago.

Kandi Buckland discovered a passion for public health 23 years ago in South Dakota. Now, she organizes responses to food-borne illness, disease oubreaks and coordinates restaurant, pool and daycare inspections for the El Paso County Department of Health and Environment.
As deputy public health administrator, Buckland is the No. 2 person at the agency — making her responsible for oversight of the department’s various roles and responsibilities.
Buckland recenlty took time to tell CSBJ about herself and her organization.
Organization: El Paso County Department of Health and Environment
Position: Deputy public health administrator
Hometown: Claremont, S.D.
How long have you lived in Colorado Springs: Since June 2000
Education: I am a registered nurse with an associate degree in nursing. After 19 years in the nursing field, I returned to school and earned a bachelor’s degree in health services administration, followed by a master’s degree in public administration.
A few words about your organization: The Department of Health and Environment is the public safety agency responsible for protecting and preserving the public’s health and environmental quality. There are four divisions: Health Promotion, Environmental Health, Clinical Services, and Epidemiology and Research.
Recent accomplishments: Serving on the board of directors for two national public health organizations has given me the opportunity to meet and work with public health professionals from across the country to help shape public health practices.
Biggest career break: More than two decades ago, a friend asked me to consider working in the public health field and arranged for me to meet with the South Dakota Department of Health and explore an employment opportunity there. Initially, I planned to “try it out” for a couple of years, but here I am in my 23rd year of public health service.
The toughest part of your job: Preventing and protecting the public from infectious disease with reduced funding and resources. Recent budget cuts have forced our agency to ignore sound public health science when determining how and when to respond to health threats in our community.
Someone you admire: My husband and parents. I admire my husband for his dedication to children and education. He has taught 52,780 physical education classes during the past 35 years and remains positive, focused and committed to his students. I also admire my parents for their common sense approach to life and life’s problems. They taught me to respect people and to appreciate how working together accomplishes so much more than going it alone.
About your family: My husband, Rollie, and I have a blended family of five children and one grandchild.
Something else you’d like to accomplish: I’d like to learn to play golf at a skill level that wouldn’t embarrass my playing companions.
How your business will change in the next decade: Nationally, public health is moving toward a standardized accreditation process. This progression will require our agency to meet specific criteria in terms of infrastructure, work force, response to public health threats, disease trend analysis and many other areas. While the accreditation process might be voluntary at first, it is likely that grant and contract providers eventually will require agencies to be accredited in order to receive funding.
What book are you currently reading? “Leading Change” by John P. Kotter.
What is the one thing you would change about Colorado Springs? I would like to increase the public’s understanding of the many roles and responsibilities of local public health. Many people do not realize the extent to which public health keeps them safe every day.