San Diego Business Journal

The county has replaced the medical director of its emergency services program, citing his other job as a "potential conflict of interest."

Samuel Stratton, a clinical professor with UC Irvine's Department of Emergency Medicine, will replace Gary Vilke, a UC San Diego emergency room doctor.

Vilke has served as both the county's emergency services medical director and a doctor at UCSD for three years, but the county only recently decided his relationship with the local university could be cause for alarm.

County Public Health Officer Nancy Bowen said Vilke's relationship with UCSD was the reason for the replacement, which was announced Dec. 22.

"We thought there was a potential conflict of interest," Bowen said.

When asked why Vilke was allowed to exist for three years in the director position, which approves policies and standards by which hospitals , including UCSD Medical Center , must abide, Bowen said, "We're constantly looking for ways to improve our program and decided that would be a good step to take."

Stratton, who the county will pay $185,000 per year, practices medicine at the UC Irvine Medical Center in the city of Orange. He served as the medical director of the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency from 1993-2003. Bowen said Stratton will assume his new position Feb. 1.

, Katie Weeks