Skip to main content

PRESS RELEASE: Department of Corrections Contracts With National Corrections Health Care Expert Dr. Homer Venters

Released June 29, 2021

Contact Jacque Coe, (360) 890-0381

Communications Office

TUMWATER – Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Cheryl Strange has announced a contract to support DOC Health Services with a national expert on prison medical care. Dr. Homer Venters is a physician, epidemiologist and nationally recognized leader in health and human rights including large corrections systems. Venters is being retained to work with DOC Health Services on systemic improvements directly related to patient care in the state’s prison facilities.

“When Governor Inslee appointed me to lead the Department of Corrections, it was clear he wanted to see great improvements in the health services for the individuals under our care,” said Strange. “Dr. Venter’s expertise in correctional health care can help us make the best decisions for effective improvements in Health Services that will have the greatest impact on patient care.”

“Our team is eager to progress, and I’m confident his consultation will help us see progress much faster to support the health and well-being of each and every individual under our jurisdiction,” said DOCs Chief Medical Officer Sara Kariko.

Prior to joining Community Oriented Correctional Health Services (COCHS), Dr. Venters served as the Director of Programs for Physicians for Human Rights and the Chief Medical Officer for the New York City (NYC) Jail system. Venters is the author of Life and Death in Rikers Island. In February, Venters was appointed to President Joe Biden’s and Vice President Kamala Harris’ COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force.

As the Senior Health and Justice Fellow for COCHS, Dr. Venters directs several initiatives regarding health and justice, including reducing traumatic brain injury among detainees and correctional staff and promoting access to evidence based addiction treatment for persons with justice involvement. Dr. Venters has led over 50 peer reviewed scientific publications on the topics of health and justice involvement, work that has been cited by the US Supreme Court and led to testimony before Congress.

Dr. Venters received his MD from the University of Illinois, Master of Public Health Research from New York University (NYU) and completed his residency in Social Internal Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center. Dr. Venters is a Clinical Associate Professor at the NYU College of Global Public Health.