Bruce Dixon
9:48 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Former Allegheny County Health Director Bruce Dixon Dead at 74

Former Allegheny County Health Department Director Bruce Dixon died early Wednesday morning according to the County Medical Examiner’s office.  The death is listed as being related to a blood infection from a sudden inflammation of his gallbladder, which caused him to be hospitalized on Tuesday.

The 74-year old Dr. Dixon was forced out of the post he held for 20 years in March of last year.  Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald who at the time had been in office for less than three months orchestrated the firing.  It is believed that Fitzgerald was not happy with Dixon’s handling of several issues before he took office.

Dixon was also a tenured member of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.  He began working at Pitt in 1975 and when he was tapped for the directorship of the health department he stayed on at the school with a reduced schedule.

 

Paul King was a member of the Board of Health from 2002 to 2012 and worked closely with Dixon.  He remembered Dixon’s passion for caring for the county’s residents.  “I’ve seen him in the jail—the county jail talking to prisoners, I’ve seen him talking to AIDS patients on the streets…”

King, who is now with the PRC noted that Dixon was as comfortable talking to those patients as he was with governors and CEO’s.  “He treated everyone the same.”

“He certainly gave it 120 percent all the time. And I think the world is a much better place that he was here, and a sadder place that he’s not,” said King.

Dixon was also a tenured member of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.  He began working at Pitt in 1975 and when he was tapped for the directorship of the health department he stayed on at the school with a reduced schedule.

After being removed as director of the department, Dixon filed a lawsuit claiming wrongful termination. That suit never came to a resolution. In a written statement Executive Fitzgerald remembered Dixon this way:

“For over 20 years, Dr. Bruce Dixon was the ultimate public servant, dedicating his life to serving the needs of the residents of Allegheny County through his direction of the Allegheny County Health Department.  The time and dedication he committed to the Department during his tenure was extensive. While we differed in how the Health Department should move forward, the service he provided was admired and will not be forgotten soon.”

Dixon was a native of Forest Hills.