Elder Alumni Spotlight: Greg Kesterman ’97

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Elder High School Alum Greg Kesterman is the Hamilton County Health Commissioner after working in the Health Department for 15 years.

About a year ago he was named interim health commissioner. After a couple of months of being interim commissioner, he was named the permanent Health Commissioner.

Kesterman was thrust into the COVID Pandemic as he was settling into his new office a year ago. “It has been a year of turmoil and lots of change. I am really fortunate to have a great people to work with.” Kesterman has been the face of Public Health here in Hamilton County during one of the most difficult and challenging times the world has ever faced.  During one of the most difficult and uncertain times Kesterman says that he is pleased with how the public has responded. “Our Hamilton County residents have really done a great job and really saved lives here in the county.” In Hamilton County, Covid-19 cases have been steadily decreasing as more and more folks are getting vaccinated. To date, Hamilton County has vaccinated about 8% of the county population. Most of those receiving the vaccine so far have been those 65 and older and healthcare workers. The next big push for the county is getting teachers and folks with special needs vaccinated.

One of the largest public schools in the state, Cincinnati Public started to vaccinate their staff last week. Elder staff and teachers will be receiving their first shot sometime in February.

Just this past week it was announced that the state of Ohio has passed total cases with total vaccines administered. A step in the right direction.

Kesterman, who has yet to have a normal day at the office due to the pressing issue of the pandemic, has his eyes set on goals for the Health Department in the future, post Covid world.

“We recently received a three million dollar grant for Lead housing issues. I’d really like to see improvements within our housing program. We have a lot of opportunities to create program enhancements and create the best programs in the nation.”

Kesterman takes question from the media after the first Covid cases are found in Hamilton County. (Cincy Enquirer) March 2020

Kesterman is hopeful that by taking the steps of mask wearing and social distancing we can curb the pandemic enough to start seeing things of the ‘old world’ come back sometime in 2021. Although that isn’t a guarantee of any sorts, everything has to go smoothly as we push out more vaccines.