By Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, NKY Health District Director of Health
Jack Lenihan, DMD, is no stranger to Northern Kentucky or the health department’s mission. Dr. Lenihan practices dentistry at Lenihan Family Dentistry in Crittenden and Falmouth, and is serving as chairperson of our District Board of Health this fiscal year.
He was born and raised in Northern Kentucky, attended Covington Catholic and Thomas More College, and trained in dentistry at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry before coming back to practice.
When he is not busy taking care of people’s oral health, he spends time with his wife, Jennifer, raising four children – two boys and two girls – who range in age from middle school through high school (Covington Catholic) and college (University of Kentucky nursing and accounting majors). In addition, Dr. Lenihan has spent countless hours coaching his children’s sports and serving leadership roles in their church and schools.
He has been in private dental practice for nearly 20 years, originally just in Crittenden before recently opening a second practice in Falmouth. He also quickly became involved in volunteering his time with other dentists to provide oral health screenings for children in Grant County elementary schools. These volunteer efforts pre-date our own oral health program.
When we hired our first oral health coordinator (pre-Linda Poynter), Dr. Lenihan was called upon to help us replicate their successful program in the rest of Northern Kentucky. He helped recruit dentists to provide oral health screenings to children in city schools, including Covington, Ludlow, Bellevue, Dayton, Erlanger and Elsmere. Recently, when state law changed to allow public health dental hygienists to perform these services, he continued volunteering to provide guidance to our staff and signing our protocols. Dr. Lenihan is clearly public-health minded.
Dr. Lenihan has served on our District Board of Health since 2015 and became our board chairperson this past July. “I am continuously impressed with the range of services that the health department provides and which the public doesn’t realize are being provided for their benefit,” said Dr. Lenihan. “I am also impressed with how committed staff is to working together and doing quality work.”
This year, Dr. Lenihan will be leading the board through some significant challenges — monitoring the progress of our newest syringe access exchange programs in mobile units in Newport and Covington, and the looming pension issue that will impact health departments in the next fiscal year.
We are fortunate to have Dr. Lenihan serve as our board chairperson this fiscal year. Not only does he care about the future of Northern Kentucky as his home, but he also understands the important role of public health in our communities and supports our mission of preventing disease, promoting wellness and protecting against health threats. Dr. Lenihan’s term as chairperson will continue through June 30, 2019.