A Casper native and former Casper College instructor who has directed a state AIDS program has been tapped to take over Natrona County’s health department, the agency announced recently.
Anna Kinder will assume the executive director role of the Casper-Natrona County Health Department on July 1. The previous director, Kelly Weidenbach, announced in late October that she would be departing Casper for a job in Colorado.
Kinder is wrapping up her tenure as the director of the Wyoming AIDS Education and Training Center, according to the health department’s press release. She previously worked as an occupational therapist and taught at Casper College and the University of North Dakota, her alma maters. She also has a master’s degree from Colorado State University.
“Locally, the Casper native has demonstrated a lifelong dedication to the community, including service to the Make a Wish Foundation and local Boosters Club, as well board and steering committee service for healthcare organizations focused on children and the elderly,” the health department wrote in its press release. “She has been an outspoken advocate for the management of infectious disease, especially in the development of HIV and AIDS prevention programs.”
Kinder was unavailable for an interview this week but said by email that she was “looking forward to this opportunity and have a lot of plans to be the best that we can be!”
There are a slew of health challenges facing Natrona County, despite the heavy health care infrastructure concentrated in Casper. A sweeping report from the health department last year found residents here are more likely to smoke and drink to an unhealthy extent. Heart disease remains a persistent concern, which is related to another: poor access to fresh food. The county lags well behind the rest of the state for access to grocery stores per 100,000 people, at just 13, compared to the Wyoming average of 63. Significant slices of Natrona County have limited access to fresh produce.
Elsewhere, the report found that Natrona County residents are more likely to die from most major cancers than the average Wyomingite and that liver disease and cirrhosis — both tied to heavy alcohol use — are higher here than is typical elsewhere in the state and nation.