Georgia’s Public Health Commissioner Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald has been named by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price as the 17th director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Fitzgerald was sworn in as Georgia’s public health chief in 2011. Neither of her new jobs require Senate confirmation. She assumed the duties of both positions on Friday.

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald

“Having known Dr. Fitzgerald for many years, I know that she has a deep appreciation and understanding of medicine, public health, policy and leadership — all qualities that will prove vital as she leads the CDC in its work to protect America’s health 24/7,” said Secretary Price, a former Georgia congressman. “We look forward to working with Dr. Fitzgerald to achieve President Trump’s goal of strengthening public health surveillance and ensuring global health security at home and abroad.”

Dr. Anne Schuchat, who has been the acting CDC director and acting ATSDR administrator since Jan. 20, is returning to her role as CDC’s principal deputy director.  Price thanked her for making “seamless transitions” at CDC and ATSDR.

Fitzgerald is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist who has practiced medicine for three decades. As Georgia DPH commissioner, Fitzgerald oversaw various state public health programs and directed the state’s 18 public health districts and 159 county health departments.

Prior to that, Fitzgerald had numerous leadership positions. She served on the board and as president of the Georgia OB-GYN Society and she worked as a health care policy advisor with then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Sen. Paul Coverdell. She has served as a senior fellow and chair of the board for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

Fitzgerald earned her bachelor’s of science in microbiology from Georgia State University and her medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine. She completed post-graduate training at the Emory-Grady Hospitals in Atlanta and was an assistant clinical professor at Emory Medical Center. As a major in the U.S. Air Force, Fitzgerald served at the Wurtsmith Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC) Base in Michigan and at the Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.

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