New River Health director to speak at Virginia Tech public health commencement

New River Health District director Dr. Noelle Bisselll
New River Health District director Dr. Noelle Bisselll(Virginia Tech)
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 5:39 AM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia Tech announced Wednesday that New River Health District Director Dr. Noelle Bissell will be the commencement speaker for the 2022 graduating class of Bachelor of Science in public health students.

Dr. Bissell, who has been the director of the New River Health District since 2017, has been leading the district’s COVID-19 response efforts as part of the New River Valley Public Health Task Force.

“I am very excited and honored to be the commencement speaker, especially as this is the inaugural graduating class of public health students. This is a great time to be coming into public health, with many exciting opportunities. But students need to realize that this is a challenging career,” said Bissell.

The university says the bachelor’s degree, which is part of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s public health program, prepares graduates to work in the public health fields and address public health problems such as infectious and chronic diseases, high-risk lifestyles and health disparities. The program emphasizes One Health, an approach that reinforces that human health, animal health, and the environment are all connected.

“We have so much to do in public health. These students made a great career investment decision four years ago, pre-pandemic, in starting on a public health pathway. They are now well placed to make an impact and have an opportunity to grow their careers in many different ways,” said Bissell.

Dr. Bissell, a Blacksburg resident, received her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and her M.D. from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Board-certified in internal medicine, she served four years in the U.S. Navy as a flight surgeon. Before working in public health, Bissell practiced inpatient and outpatient medicine and college health.

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