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Public Health Laboratories Director

Spotlight Preferred
The City of Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States (on-site)
15 days ago



Recruitment #2211-5586-001


The Public Health Laboratories Director is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Commissioner of Health.


Located on the western shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is an urban hub bursting with energy. Milwaukee provides a casual sophistication – big city appeal without the big city hassles. We are accessible and affordable, and our residents are welcoming. Milwaukee has evolved through the years, bringing together its unsurpassed historic charm with a breathtaking art museum, top-flight cultural attractions, professional sports, lakefront festivals, recreational opportunities, and great restaurants.

The City of Milwaukee is proud to employ a diverse workforce that is committed to providing exemplary service to the City’s residents. If you have a passion for being a part of an inclusive team of public servants, please consider the following opportunity.


Since 1867, the City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) has served the residents of the city of Milwaukee, seeking to improve and protect the health of all who live, work, and play within the city. Although most of the department’s programs and interventions have changed, over 150 years later the department remains steadfast in this mission.

Since 1874, the Milwaukee Health Department Laboratory (MHDL) has provided disease surveillance and clinical and environmental testing. The MHDL is a Biosafety Level III laboratory that is equipped to respond to and identify biothreat agents from clinical and environmental samples. Additionally, the MHDL staff is actively involved in the city’s preparedness response to emergencies and outbreaks that threaten the public's health, utilizing some of the most current methodologies and equipment available in-house. MHDL employees collaborate with state and local public health laboratories, clinical laboratories, federal agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local academic institutions to provide and coordinate testing services and participate in the development and implementation of newer technologies to benefit public health. MHDL provides access to laboratory services to underserved and high-risk populations in the local jurisdiction to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and to improve control measures to mitigate exposure to environmental hazards, like lead.

Living your best life, Milwaukee.


Advance the health and equity of Milwaukeeans through science, innovation, and leadership.


Innovation: We believe in nurturing creativity and new ideas that challenge us to do our everyday work better.

Equity: We acknowledge historic and current injustices in our community and strive to cultivate an environment where everyone in our community has equal opportunity to be healthy.

Collaboration: We convene community members, partners, and elected officials to meet the needs of our community.

Courage: We take strategic risk and bold initiative to advocate for and prioritize the needs of our community.

Accountability: We act with transparency and integrity to advance the health of Milwaukee.

Quality: We continuously improve and adapt to create sustainable and positive health outcomes.



The Public Health Laboratories Director is responsible for all activities of the City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) Public Health Laboratory for the City of Milwaukee.


The ideal candidate will be an experienced leader with strong management and collaboration skills and in-depth knowledge of compliance standards relating to clinical and environmental laboratories (i.e., Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, or CLIA). The MHD seeks a visionary leader, a consensus builder, and an excellent communicator with the ability to advance public health initiatives through the development of internal and external partnerships and collaboration.


Administrative and Management

  • Ensure activities contribute to the MHD mission, vision, and values.
  • Ensure the laboratory organizational structure meets the deliverables while maintaining efficient operations and providing clear directives for related programs.
  • Ensure that all services are relevant to public health, meet the highest quality standards, comply with local, state and federal requirements, serve customer and stakeholder needs, and are cost effective.
  • Provide leadership to managers and supervisors responsible for staff in various scientific and support units of the laboratory.
  • Oversee personnel management, including staffing planning, recruitment, orientation, and training. Work with the MHD Human Resources (HR) staff to ensure job descriptions align with job functions and hire highly qualified staff.
  • Establish laboratory policies and procedures, in collaboration with MHD HR, related to employee performance management, development, and competencies needed for laboratory compliance.
  • Ensure fair and equitable resolution of issues that arise in the laboratory.
  • Oversee management of the main laboratory and provide technical oversight of one sexually transmitted infections (STIs) clinic and two health centers.
  • Oversee the development, implementation, and evaluation of laboratory policies, goals, and objectives.
  • Work collaboratively with the Laboratory Operations manager and Finance and Administration Manager to prepare the budget that supports the laboratory operations. Review expenditures and resource allocations; ensure fiscal integrity.
  • Work collaboratively on public health issues with managers from other MHD programs, under the leadership of the Commissioner of Health and Medical Director.

Executive Planning and Community Liaison

  • Develop and maintain effective relationships and communication with a variety of local, state, and federal agencies, including the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, the Division of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
  • Collaborate with clinical laboratories and other partners throughout the jurisdiction and state.
  • As a member of the MHD’s leadership team, identify Public Health Laboratory (PHL) needs and roles necessary to meet public health objectives.
  • Provide regular updates to community partners on current clinical findings, surveillance activities, and any updates to laboratory services.

Regulatory Compliance

  • Serve as the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) Laboratory Director, ensuring laboratory compliance with CLIA regulations (i.e., enroll in proficiency testing program for all diagnostic tests and ensure annual competency of staff).
  • Serve as the Responsible Official in compliance with the Federal Select Agent Program (FSAP).
  • Maintain federal certification of the public health laboratory in accord with CLIA, select agent regulations, and all other applicable federal and state laws (e.g., regulations issued by the EPA, the American Industrial Hygiene Association for the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP).
  • Ensure compliance with local, state, and national best practices for policies and regulations.

Technical Leadership and Direction

  • Ensure appropriate testing, technology, customer service, and technical support are available to support public health programs.
  • Ensure quality control and assessment programs are maintained to ensure quality laboratory services and testing.
  • Provide leadership to plan, implement, and evaluate new or modified procedures.
  • Review and approve all test procedures before use and ensure compliance by all testing personnel.
  • Ensure industry best practices and compliance related to the stringent technical, safety, security, educational, and scientific standards and methods for operating a complex multi-disciplinary public health laboratory; testing programs in clinical, environmental, food, water quality, toxics, and select agents (bioterrorism-related); and molecular science.
  • Develop and encourage professional development opportunities and in-service training programs for all laboratory staff. Ensure opportunities for succession planning and development for staff.

We welcome qualified individuals with disabilities who are interested in employment and will make reasonable accommodations during the hiring process in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008.


  • Please be advised that new employees are required to have received either both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine prior to their employment start date or have an approved religious or medical accommodation prior to their employment start date. You can find further information relative to the City’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy here: https://city.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/Groups/derAuthors/Policies/COVID-19EmployeeVaccinationPolicy.pdf.
  • The Public Health Laboratory Director (PHLD) is required to file a statement of economic interests in accordance with the Milwaukee Code of Ordinances Chapter 303-Code of Ethics.
  • Public health and security emergencies may require the incumbent to be available during non-standard hours and/or weekends as well as to travel on occasion.
  • The PHLD must be willing and able to do the following:
    • Wear a particulate respirator (N95 or higher), and have a respirator fit test annually;
    • Have a TB skin test annually;
    • Participate in the Federal Select Agent Program (Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002); and
    • Obtain FBI background clearance.
  • While performing the duties of this job, employees may be exposed to infectious agents or toxic laboratory chemicals.



  1. An earned doctoral degree in chemical, physical, biological, or laboratory science from an accredited institution, AND certification (at the time of application and throughout employment) by a board approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Boards and certifications approved by HHS include the following: American Board of Bioanalysis (ABB); ABB public health microbiology certification; American Board of Clinical Chemistry (ABCC); American Board of Forensic Toxicology (ABFT) (limited to individuals with a doctoral degree with Fellow status); American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ABMGG) (formerly known as American Board of Medical Genetics); American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology (ABMLI); American Board of Medical Microbiology (ABMM); American College of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ACHI) (formerly known as American Board of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics); and National Registry of Certified Chemists (NRCC) (limited to individuals with a doctoral degree). Click this link for more information: Certification Boards for Laboratory Directors of High Complexity Testing | CMS.


Licensed Medical Doctor (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) or Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) and certified in anatomic or clinical pathology or one year of lab training during medical residency OR two years of experience directing or supervising high complexity testing.


  1. CLIA-certified for a high complexity and moderate complexity laboratory at time of appointment and throughout employment. For a full list of CLIA Lab Director Responsibilities, visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website, and download Brochure #7 brochure7.pdf (cms.gov)

Equivalent combinations of education and experience that provide the applicant with the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform the job will be considered.

Notice: Please do not attach your academic transcripts to your employment application. The hiring department will verify candidates’ education as part of the background screening process prior to extending any job offers.



  • Strong executive leadership and managerial skills.
  • Vision, imagination, initiative, and passion.
  • Ability to build and retain a successful, diverse department through effective hiring, management, training, and coaching.
  • Passion for and commitment to racial equity and inclusion and willingness to implement the department’s strategic plan and assist with culture change.
  • Ability to foster an environment of inclusion wherein all associates are treated respectfully, are valued for their strengths, and feel that they can safely express themselves.


  • Knowledge of public health principles.
  • Knowledge of bacteriology, virology, serology, parasitology, mycology, and chemistry as they relate to the functions of the public health laboratory, with comprehensive knowledge in at least one of these fields.
  • Scientific skills to interpret a variety of standard test procedures.
  • Ability to analyze scientific data to reach a conclusion.
  • Knowledge of analytical and statistical procedures as applied to laboratory testing procedures.
  • Knowledge of budgeting and cost allocation.
  • Ability to organize data and to write detailed reports with recommendations.
  • Ability to prioritize, schedule, assign, and monitor completion of assignments.
  • Ability to approach problems in a logical and proactive manner.
  • Ability to apply epidemiologic principles to assist in proper public health practice related to the laboratory services.
  • Ability to apply a risk assessment process to ensure safe and effective practices related to biological and chemical agents.
  • Ability to use public health policy, quality assurance techniques, and statistical analysis methods to informed proper practices for the laboratory.
  • Knowledge of public health law and emerging public health innovation, such as Public Health 3.0.

Communication and Interpersonal

  • Exemplary ability to work collaboratively with elected officials, colleagues, staff, public and private stakeholders, and community groups.
  • Verbal communication skills to express ideas clearly and concisely in a variety of settings, via phone, face-to-face, and in meetings.
  • Ability to clearly and confidently represent the department before public bodies and the media.
  • Ability to communicate complex information to a variety of audiences.
  • Superior written communication skills to compose well-crafted policies, narratives, reports, articles, presentations, and correspondence.

Critical Thinking and Planning

  • Strategic planning skills to establish and achieve long-range objectives.
  • Organizational skills to oversee workflow processes.
  • Effective research, analytical, and problem-solving skills to address complex issues.
  • Decision-making skills and sound judgment.


  • Ability to provide responsible stewardship of City resources and to represent the MHD and the City of Milwaukee professionally and ethically.
  • Ability to manage competing and changing priorities under pressure.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality regarding all aspects of the role.


The current salary range (Pay Range 1LX) is $110,796-$130,521 and the resident incentive salary for City of Milwaukee residents is $114,120-$134,437. Appointment above the minimum is possible based upon level of experience and other qualifications and is subject to approval.

The City of Milwaukee provides a comprehensive benefit program that includes the following:

  • Defined Benefit Pension Plan
  • 457 Deferred Compensation Plan
  • Health and Dental Insurance
  • Paid Parental Leave
  • Comprehensive Wellness Program
  • Onsite Clinic Services
  • Onsite Employee Assistance Program
  • Alternative Work Schedules
  • Long Term Disability Insurance
  • Group Life Insurance
  • Tuition Benefits
  • Paid Vacation
  • 12 Paid Holidays
  • Paid Sick Leave and other paid leaves
  • Flexible Spending Arrangement
  • Commuter Value Pass

For full details of the benefits offered by the City of Milwaukee, please visit https://city.milwaukee.gov/der/benefits.


  • Screening for this position will be based on an evaluation of each applicant’s education, experience, and professional accomplishments, which should be detailed in a cover letter and resume and sent via email to LOCONNOR@milwaukee.gov by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, December 1, 2022.
  • Please indicate “PH Laboratories Director” in the subject line.
  • Inquiries regarding the selection process may be directed to Lindsey O’Connor by calling 414.286.6406 or via email atLOCONNOR@milwaukee.gov.
  • The City of Milwaukee reserves the right to invite only the most qualified applicants to participate in the selection process.
  • The selection process will be conducted as soon as practical after Thursday, December 1, 2022. Receipt of application materials may be discontinued at any time after this date without prior notice. However, recruitment may continue until the needs of the City have been met. The applicant is responsible for attending all phases of the job selection process at the time and place designated by the City of Milwaukee.


The City of Milwaukee values and encourages diversity and is an equal opportunity employer.

Job Information

  • Job ID: 66777709
  • Workplace Type: On-Site
  • Location:
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
  • Company Name For Job: The City of Milwaukee
  • Position Title: Public Health Laboratories Director
  • Area of Focus: Leadership
  • Job Function: Laboratory Management
  • Setting: Public Health Laboratory
  • Job Type: Full-Time
  • Salary: $114,120.00 - $134,437.00 (Yearly Salary)
  • Governmental Position: NO

Please refer to the company's website or job descriptions to learn more about them.

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