Cole Diagnostics COVID-19 testing

Dr. Ryan Cole prepares a COVID-19 sample to be tested in the lab at Cole Diagnostics in April 2020.

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Ada County Commissioners Rod Beck and Ryan Davidson on Tuesday voted to appoint Dr. Ryan Cole to be the physician member of the Central District Health board.

Ada County Commissioner Kendra Kenyon said she “adamantly” opposed that decision.

The appointment must be approved not only by Ada County, but also by at least five commissioners in Boise, Elmore and Valley counties. (The appointment requires a simple majority, which is seven total votes across the four counties. Ada County has now supplied two of those votes.)

Dr. Ryan Cole

Dr. Ryan Cole

Beck and Davidson said their decisions were guided by feedback from Ada County constituents, as well as their personal beliefs and experiences.

Central District Health’s board controls the leadership and budget for the regional public health agency. Cole has been criticized for spreading false information about COVID-19 and vaccinations. He recently gave a speech in which he said the COVID-19 vaccine is a “poisonous attack” on the population that must be stopped.

Davidson and Beck said Cole brings an outsider’s view to the position. Kenyon said Cole’s conduct “flies in the face of ethics.”

Kenyon said “the majority” of Ada County’s medical community opposes Cole. Davidson said that medical community is “leading us down a path” toward “force and coercion” on vaccines, and he thinks Cole will stand up to them.

If Cole is appointed, he’ll replace Dr. Ted Epperly, who served on the Central District Health Board from 2006 until June, when Ada County commissioners decided not to renew his appointment.

Cole, Drs. Sky Blue and Stanley Moss interviewed for the position on Aug. 9. Ada County commissioners originally planned to vote on their choice on Aug. 10, but delayed the decision until this week.

Originally published Aug. 17 on IdahoCapitalSun.com.

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