Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, Chair
Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh has served on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners since she was first appointed to fill a vacancy on the Commission in January 2015. Arkoosh won election to a full four-year term in November 2015 and served as Commission Vice Chair until her election as Commission Chair in November 2016, the first woman to assume this role. She was re-elected in November 2019 and unanimously chosen by her two colleagues to again serve as Chair in January 2020. Montgomery County, located in southeastern Pennsylvania, is the third most populous county in Pennsylvania with over 856,000 residents. The three member Board of Commissioners oversees a budget of nearly $500 million and directs more than 2,800 employees. The Commission manages human services for more than 100,000 residents, Voter Services, over 130 County bridges, 75 miles of roads and other infrastructure, seven County parks and nearly 100 miles of trails.
Dr. Arkoosh is bringing innovative reforms to county government from rebuilding critical infrastructure and preserving over 10,000 acres of farmland, to fighting for workers by instituting a $15 minimum wage and gender-neutral paid parental leave for County employees. She has taken tangible steps to combat climate change transitioning the County buildings’ electrical supply to renewable sources. Arkoosh has done all this while restoring the County’s AAA bond rating and maintaining among the lowest County property taxes in the region.
Dr. Arkoosh is improving services for children, Veterans, and seniors. She has led the efforts to eliminate street homelessness of veterans, and streamline delivery of human services. Dr. Arkoosh drew on her background as a physician to oversee a multi-pronged, integrated response to the opioid overdose epidemic. In 2015 she issued a standing order to enable participating pharmacies in Montgomery County to dispense the overdose antidote naloxone at the request of any member of the public. Throughout her career, Dr. Arkoosh has been a staunch advocate for maternal health and reproductive rights. She is currently a member of the Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Committee.
As a physician and public health professional, Arkoosh has been at the center of the County’s efforts to combat the COVID 19 pandemic leading a data and science driven response to this unprecedented challenge. Dr. Arkoosh has been praised for the County’s COVID-19 response and her transparency and public communication throughout the pandemic.
Upon obtaining her Master of Public Health in 2007, Arkoosh became deeply engaged in the national effort to achieve comprehensive health care reform. She led the National Physicians Alliance, a national non-profit organization of physicians, who, putting their patients before profits, joined a broad-based nation-wide coalition for reform. During this time, she developed policy and legislative strategy, and promoted public engagement in Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and throughout the country. Dr. Arkoosh maintains comprehensive knowledge of the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its impact on individuals and the health care system.
While much of her career has been in medicine and public health, Arkoosh has substantial experience in dealing with many of the same challenges governments face. She has significant leadership experience managing complex organizations during times of fiscal challenge. Arkoosh served for five years as Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at the Drexel University College of Medicine where she successfully drew upon her undergraduate training in economics to restore her department to fiscal solvency following the Allegheny University bankruptcy. During this challenging time, she also served as Interim Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and was actively involved in the financial oversight of the medical school clinical practice plan.
Prior to stepping into public service, Dr. Arkoosh was Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology and Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. Arkoosh is a graduate of the University Of Nebraska College Of Medicine and received a Master of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She performed her residency at Jefferson Medical College in Anesthesiology with a special focus in Obstetrics. She has an undergraduate degree in economics from Northwestern University.
Arkoosh lives in Springfield Township, Montgomery County, with her husband, Jeff Harbison, and their three children.
To contact Commissioner Arkoosh, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.