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LaShan Dixon began working at the Rutherford County Health Department in the Fall of 2008 as a TENNderCare Outreach Representative. An MTSU alumna, LaShan saw the position as a way to advocate for underserved individuals and communities. Her passion was obvious to those around her and after only three years she was offered the position of Public Health Educator II. Here she provided wellness information to the public about health and safety concerns specific to the community. After serving in this position for six years, LaShan was promoted to Assistant Public Health Director.
Well into the beginning of a global pandemic, Rutherford County suffered the sudden and tragic loss of the esteemed Director of the Rutherford County Health Department, Dana Garrett. Without hesitation, LaShan stepped up to serve as Interim Director.
It cannot be overstated that LaShan inherited the reins of a public health department as a global pandemic came into full swing. It was a time when communities were relying heavily on the guidance of the local health department to navigate mandates and changes in procedures for public health during much uncertainty. LaShan was able to use her experience to lead successfully.
In March of 2021, the position became permanent after Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron and the County Commission voted to support LaShan in becoming Director of the Rutherford County Health Department.
"We are just so fortunate to have Mrs. Dixon leading our health department here in Rutherford County. She has proven herself time and time again over the course of this pandemic." Mayor Ketron states. "And what a dedicated servant she is to our community."
LaShan admits it was difficult at first to step into the position since it meant she had lost her friend and mentor. Yet her time with the department and working closely with Dana had given her the preparation and confidence to know she would succeed.
“I was blessed with amazing staff, community partners and a loving family that helped me each and every step of the way!” LaShan states.
LaShan now leads the department with policies and procedures that provide quality care to the community.
“Diversity and Inclusion are very important to me…” LaShan states “...and I want to make sure that as a local health department we can continue to provide amazing quality care to those who need it the most.”
The same courage and confidence that LaShan shows for leading the Rutherford County Health Department can be seen in her time in pageantry. It was fifteen years ago, while still a student at MTSU, that a dare from a friend led to LaShan’s path into pageantry. LaShan had always admired the United States of America’s Organization for their empowerment of women, integrity, class, and inclusiveness. And at the end of February, LaShan traveled to the 2022 United States of America Mrs. Pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada to represent Tennessee and her community. With the platform of “Walking with a Purpose” she was crowned as United States of America Mrs. 2022.
“Pageantry is a family sport! Through pageantry, I have traveled more, spent more time with my family, showed our daughter the power of community volunteerism, and challenged myself to continually grow.” LaShan states. “The very best part is the love and pride that I saw on the face of my Husband and family from the stage. My husband is the love and support I need to realize all of my goals in this competition and in life! What’s not to love about that!”
When asked about the future of the Rutherford County Health Department, LaShan notes that while the focus of Public Health has shifted over the years, one thing remains the same, that Public Health organizes efforts to improve the health of all communities.