Cookeville’s Most Influential People – Class of 2022
Cookeville native and Director of the Putnam County Health Department, Lisa Bumbalough, has dedicated most of her adult life to helping the Cookeville community live longer, happier, healthier lives. Lisa’s career spans 30 years, of which the past 17 have been in the role of director of the PCHD. Lisa says, “Making a positive impact in the community is what I love most about my role.” She does her best to live the mission statement of the health department, “to protect, promote and improve the health of people in the community.”
One pivotal moment in Lisa’s career was during the COVID pandemic in early 2020. The delicate exchange of information regarding the virus and the urgent need for vaccines and testing was her priority. “Getting that information out to the community in an easy-to-understand manner was very difficult in the middle of COVID,” she remembers. “I prayed every day. Our team and community truly came together during that time.”
Lisa courageously orchestrated the delivery ofinformation and protocol changes while mitigating the concerns of local citizens. “We listened to everyone’s opinion, then moved forward with our mission and duty at hand,” she shared.” We had to work through fear and confusion to navigate the delivery of the vaccine and testing. Barriers were being thrown at us every day,” she recalled. “We prioritized being as respectful as we could of each individual, and we certainly did our best.”
The impact she’s made on the community stretches far beyond her service during the initial COVID outbreak. Through actively overseeing many initiatives offered by the PCHD, Lisa helps to further embody the mission to promote wellness. For instance, you can find her behind the scenes, working hard to create pathways to empower the public to take control of their health. Some of the programs she’s helped launch include free-of-charge classes that cover a wide range of topics such as lowering your blood pressure, cooking at home, and managing your blood sugar numbers for those diagnosed with diabetes. Lisa has also partnered with local school systems to help children get more active before school and with local businesses to assist adults in learning how to eat healthier.
Her words of wisdom for the Cookeville Community? “Pay it forward. Always be thankful for what you have because others may not be as fortunate. Just love each other, be kind, humble and give back to the community.”