Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, named as CDC director, ATSDR administrator

New agency head is expected to draw on her experience as a public health professional.

Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, has been selected to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and also to be the administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, MD, announced Fitzgerald’s elevation to the CDC director post on Friday.

“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,” Price says.

“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,” Price added.

Fitzgerald has been the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health and state health officer for the past six years. She replaces Anne Schuchat, MD, who has been the acting CDC director and acting ATSDR administrator since January 20. Schuchat is returning to her role as CDC’s principal deputy director.

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

Fitzgerald also has held numerous leadership positions. She served on the board and as president of the Georgia OB-GYN Society and she worked as a healthcare policy advisor with House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senator Paul Coverdell. She has served as a Senior Fellow and Chairman of the Board for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

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