A new medical director started at Webster County Public Health on Dec. 31.
Dr. Vinil Bhuma, medical director of Trinity Hospital Medicine at UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center since 2018, filled the vacancy left by Dr. Kelli Wallace. Wallace’s resignation, submitted in October, took effect Dec. 31.
Webster County Supervisors confirmed Bhuma’s appointment in early December. Wallace served as medical director of WCPH for six years.
Bhuma, a native of southern India, said he’s excited to help Webster County overcome challenges as it continues to combat the coronavirus pandemic and rollout vaccine distribution. His interest in serving the public health needs of the community drew him to the position.
“I’m entrusted with promoting the wellbeing of Webster County,” Bhuma said. “I have a passion to achieve the Quadruple Aim in Webster County.”
That aim includes improving the health of populations, enhancing the patient experience, providing low-cost, high quality care and improving the lives of health care providers to encourage them to stay involved in taking care of the community.
Though the job won’t come without its challenges in the current landscape, he looks forward to helping get coronavirus infections under control locally, distributing a vaccine, getting locals on board with the vaccine through education and, hopefully, eliminating COVID-19 as much as possible.
“Vaccination is another tool that will provide us with herd immunity,” he said. “If enough people are vaccinated in the community, we can collectively eliminate it from all communities.”
A physician for 17 years, Bhuma graduated from Kurnool Medical College in India and completed his residency at the University of Alabama Birmingham, where he served as chief resident and oversaw 36 other student residents in one year.
He also completed a family medicine residency at the Mercy Mayo Family Practice Residency Program in Des Moines. Before moving to Fort Dodge, he was a hospitalist at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana.
His love of rural communities, he said, was part of what drew him to Webster County.
Bhuma was also named chair person of Webster County’s Board of Health at the board’s Thursday meeting, succeeding Linda Opheim.
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