ST. JOSEPH — Dr. Kenneth Edwards, an orthopedic surgeon and medical director of surgical services for Spectrum Health Lakeland, has been selected to fill an open seat on the Berrien County Board of Health.

The appointment was approved by the Berrien County Board of Commissioners Thursday. Edwards succeeds Dr. John Carter, who served on the board from 2005 and attended his final meeting Wednesday. Edwards was one of two candidates interviewed. The candidates needed to be doctors.

In his application, Edwards, a St. Joseph resident, said that he has been an area physician for 26 years. He is a board member of the Lakeland Physician Hospital Organization and Lakeland Medical Practices. He served on several committees working on the merger of Spectrum and Lakeland that was finalized last year.

He wrote in his application that his goal in applying for the position “is to contribute to the health care of our community in a more expansive role” and to promote more integration between “traditional delivery systems and government as we move into the era of population health.”

That will require “excellence in care delivery, preventive initiatives, and continued solutions to traditional barriers to care, whether financial or cultural,” he said. “The Berrien County Health Department is the community agency that will be essential in this future model of health care.”

Edwards has served as the chairman of the Michigan Medical Society, as Lakeland chief of staff, and he served on the Michigan Board of Medicine. He was part of the Michigan smoke-free initiative and co-chairman addressing the opioid crisis at Lakeland.

Along with his professional associations, Edwards serves on the parish council for St. Joseph Catholic Church. He was appointed to fill Carter’s term until April 2020, and then serve a five-year term.

Commissioners also appointed David Rogers to the Berrien County Mental Health Board, and Dr. James Bednar to the parks and recreation commission.

Rogers, of Coloma, is a retired nuclear professional. He is a former chairman of the Coloma Fire Board. He is certified as a coach for supervisors and managers and has taught leadership programs for 10 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in operational analysis from the U.S. Naval Academy. He replaced Lynn Todman and will fill the remaining term until March 2020, and a three-year term.

Bednar, of Stevensville, is a retired orthodontist who was in practice from 1984 to 2017. He served on the Lincoln Township Library Board from 2000 to 2008 and coached soccer for several years. He is a volunteer associate chaplain for the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department. He replaces Julia LaSata, and will fill the term until Jan. 1, 2022.

Contact: jmatuszak@TheHP.com, 932-0360, Twitter: @HPMatuszak