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Harnett County selects Ainsley Johnson as new Public Health Director

Monday, April 15, 2024

Image of Johnson OathThe Harnett County Board of Health appointed Ainsley Johnson as the new Public Health Director at their April 4 meeting.

“I am honored to have been selected as the health director and am eager for the opportunity to further serve the citizens and employees of Harnett County,” said Johnson. “My commitment is to uphold the mission of Harnett County Health Department, which is to prevent illness, diseases, and injuries, promote healthy lifestyles, and keep the environment clean, healthy, and safe. I am looking forward to continuing our strong community partnerships and exceptional Harnett County Health Department services to achieve optimal health outcomes and enhanced community well-being for all residents of Harnett County.”

Johnson began with Harnett County in 2012, serving as a public health nurse for ten years and transitioning into the role of public health nursing director in December 2020.

“Ainsley Johnson will be a great leader for the Health Department,” said Brent Trout, Harnett County Manager. “She has demonstrated that she is more than capable of fulfilling this role and committed to serving our citizens.”

As the public health director, Johnson will be responsible for providing leadership in directing program development and implementation, establishing program standards, as well as monitoring and evaluating the quality-of-service delivery systems.

“Harnett County has an excellent track record with the leadership of our Health Department. We have some dedicated people who have committed themselves heart and soul to bettering the health and welfare of our citizens over the years. We appreciate the contribution that Debra Hawkins, our interim health director in the wake of the loss of Mr. Rouse, has made, and we very much look forward to working with our new appointed director, Ainsley Johnson. We have no doubt she will provide the balanced approach that this county needs as it continues to grow into an even healthier, more vibrant community,” said Dr. Laura Smith, Chair of the Harnett County Board of Health.

Johnson earned an Associate Degree in Nursing from Central Carolina Community College, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a Master of Science in Nursing Leadership and Management from Western Governors University.

Johnson’s accomplishments include graduating from Leadership Harnett (class of 2019), becoming Certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners, 2022 award recipient of the NCPHA Nursing Section Margaret B. Dolan award, and recognition of being in the 100 Distinguished NC Public Health Nurses in 2019.

Harnett County is one of the fastest growing counties in North Carolina with approximately 140,000 residents. Harnett's tagline of "Strong Roots, New Growth," describes a county in transition, one that values its rural agricultural heritage while also embracing new growth and industry. Harnett County is optimally located just between North Carolina's capital city of Raleigh and the internationally recognized Research Triangle Park to the north, and the nation's largest military installation in Fort Liberty to the south. 

For more information, contact Community Relations Director, Desiree Patrick at or 910-893-7555.


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