Dec. 1, 2017 Issue

Georgia Health Commissioner Selected to Lead CDC

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Jul 17, 2017
On July 7, 2017, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D. announced the appointment of Brenda Fitzgerald, an obstetrician-gynecologist and current commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, to serve as Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Fitzgerald, a one-time adviser to former Congressman Newt Gingrich, a two-time Republican candidate for Congress, and formerly a major in the U.S. Air Force, has been in her current position since 2011. She will succeed Tom Frieden, who stepped down this past January after leading the CDC for eight years. She is also president-elect of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, a position reflecting a vote of confidence from a key CDC constituency—state public health workers.

Fitzgerald holds a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Georgia State University and a medical degree from Emory's School of Medicine. She trained at Emory-Grady Hospitals in Atlanta, and as an Air Force major she served at the Wurtsmith Air Force Strategic Air Command in Michigan and at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, DC.

The appointment of Fitzgerald comes at a critical time for the agency. The CDC has nearly 700 staff vacancies, including the position of Director of the Division of Oral Health, and proposed funding cuts by the Administration and the recent Republican health care bill would reduce the CDC’s FY 2018 budget by 17 percent and 12 percent respectively, if enacted. 

Impact on General Dentistry: AGD will continue to monitor policy proposals and changes announced by the CDC. In the interim, AGD looks forward to establishing a relationship with the incoming leadership at the CDC and to continue working together on issues of importance to oral health and general dentistry.