Stefan Russakow, who has headed Belmont’s Health Department for the past four-and-a-half years, is retiring as the department’s director at year’s end.
The town didn’t look far for a replacement as Russakow’s assistant, Angela Braun, will take charge of the department in January 2015.
Recognizable by his prominent mustache, Russakow has been the town’s face for a variety of health services including inspections of the town’s 80-plus eateries and educating their food service staff on preventing food-borne illnesses, handling housing and nuisance complaints while adopting new animal control regulations.
He was on the forefront with the Health Board in increasing the age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21 at the 20 retail outlet selling the products. Russakow also was a main player in the removal of the diving board at the Underwood Pool in 2012 which caught the attention of many residents.
Russakow came to Belmont in July 2005 as assistant to Belmont’s long-time health director Donna Moultrup. Braun was hired in Dec. 2010.
The Philadelphia native began is public health career while serving in the armed forces in the Philippines. Before coming to Belmont, he worked as the director of public health and community services in Nashua, N.H., was the director of the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program and was the Chief of Environmental Health and Operations of a 12-town health district in Connecticut.