Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Tom Price, M.D., named Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., as the 17th Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
“Today, I am extremely proud and excited to announce Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald as the new Director of the CDC,” said Secretary Price. “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. 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. Congratulations to Dr. Fitzgerald and her family.”
Dr. Fitzgerald has been the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and state health officer for the past six years. She replaces Dr. Anne Schuchat, who has been the acting CDC director and acting ATSDR administrator since January 20. Dr. Schuchat is returning to her role as CDC’s principal deputy director.
“Additionally, I’d like to extend my deep appreciation and thanks to Dr. Anne Schuchat for her exemplary service as acting director of the CDC,” said Secretary Price. “We thank Dr. Schuchat and her team for their dedication in our public health efforts to keep Americans safe and for their work to ensure a seamless transition. We look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Schuchat in her role as principal deputy director of CDC.”
Dr. Fitzgerald, a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, has practiced medicine for three decades. As Georgia DPH Commissioner, Dr. Fitzgerald oversaw various state public health programs and directed the state’s 18 public health districts and 159 county health departments. Prior to that, Dr. Fitzgerald held 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 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.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) released the following statement concerning the appointment:
The Infectious Diseases Society of America congratulates Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald on her appointment to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at this critical time. As a long-standing partner on CDC infectious disease programs and initiatives, including domestic and global public health emergency preparedness and response, antimicrobial resistance and stewardship, and the continuum of HIV prevention, treatment, care and communication, we look forward to working with Dr. Fitzgerald.
Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director, American Public Health Association released the following statement:
“Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald is a strong choice to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and I look forward to working with her as she leads our country’s disease, injury and disability prevention efforts.
“From her work as a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist to her recent service as the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, Dr. Fitzgerald is more than prepared to face the health challenges of our time, including climate change, Zika, Ebola, and our growing burden of chronic disease. She has shown tremendous leadership in the fields of maternal and child health, making early childhood development a priority throughout her work in Georgia. The American Public Health Association looks forward to engaging with her on pressing actions including addressing health inequities, preparing and training the public health workforce, and educating the public on prevention.
“I look forward to working with Dr. Fitzgerald in her passionate pursuit of healthier communities and families.”
Dr. Fitzgerald holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from Georgia State University and a Doctor of Medicine degree from Emory University School of Medicine. She completed post-graduate training at the Emory-Grady Hospitals in Atlanta and held an assistant clinical professorship at Emory Medical Center. As a Major in the U.S. Air Force, Dr. 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.