Cole Diagnostics COVID-19 testing (copy)

Dr. Ryan Cole looks at a sample slide under a microscope in his office at Cole Diagnostics in Boise on April 23.

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In a 2-1 vote on Aug. 17, Ada County Commissioners voted to appoint Dr. Ryan Cole, a pathologist who runs a testing laboratory in Garden City, to be the newest physician member of the Central District Health board, writes Jordan Unger in today's Sunday/Monday Idaho Press. Cole’s selection drew attention in the Treasure Valley and medical community due to his unorthodox opinions and comments pertaining to COVID-19, pandemic safety measures and the vaccine.

Cole’s appointment to the health board became official Friday when Elmore County Commissioners gave him the deciding vote he needed to assume the position. Only one of three Elmore County Commissioners voted to approve Cole, but that was all the votes he needed.

Leading up the vote, Cole’s potential stature on the health board led to individuals both locally and nationally to file complaints with Idaho’s Board of Medicine arguing he is unfit for the position due to his polarizing rhetoric surrounding COVID-19. In a statement following Friday’s vote, the Idaho Medical Association said it was “deeply disappointed that the appointment process favored politics over public health.”

You can read Unger's full story here at (subscription required), or pick up today's Sunday/Monday Idaho Press; it's on the front page.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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