Local physician named Berrien County medical director

BERRIEN COUNTY — Berrien County has a new medical director with Niles ties.

The Berrien County Health Department will welcome Dr. Rex B.G. Cabaltica as the department’s new medical director beginning next week. Cabaltica takes the reins from Dr. Frederick Johansen, who has been with the health department for 44 years, the last 22 of which have been as medical director.

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners approved Cabaltica’s contract during its weekly Thursday meeting. According to County Administrator Brian Dissette, the BOC interviewed three candidates for the position, with Cabaltica standing above the rest.

“We moved this forward so that we can catch Dr. Johansen as he leaves the organization so that we don’t have any gaps in coverage,” he said.

According to commissioner Robert Harrison, as the medical director is an employee of Lakeland and not the county, the county does not have to pay benefit costs for retirement, health, etc.

Cabaltica brings more than two decades of medical expertise, health advocacy and leadership to the Berrien County Health Department. According to a news release from the health department, he will provide strategic medical direction to BCHD which provides clinical and community health programs and services such as immunizations, sexual health, WIC, Children’s Special Health Care Services, and more.

Cabaltica currently practices family medicine at Southwestern Medical Clinic Niles and also serves as medical director for two area skilled nursing facilities, West Woods of Niles and Riverridge Rehabilitation Center in Niles.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Cabaltica to the health department. His passion for public health and advocacy make him a great addition to our team,” said Nicki Britten, health officer for the Berrien County Health Department. “His mission for attaining an equitable standard of health for all residents is something that BCHD strives to do each and every day.”

“After 22 years serving as medical director, I am grateful that this position will be left to such a caring and capable physician,” said Dr. Frederick Johansen, medical director for the Berrien County Health Department. “His leadership and vision will be a true asset to the people of Berrien County as well as to the health department in the years to come.”

Cabaltica was born in the Philippines and actively advocates against implicit bias and racial disparities in health care. He has been active in the practice of clinical medicine in surgery and family practice since 1992. His career has taken him around the world from Egypt to China and back to the United States.

Cabaltica earned degrees from Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health and Cornell University and plans on continuing to cover the Walk-In Clinic at Niles Southwestern Medical Clinic as well as to serve as the medical director of West Woods of Niles.

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