Press Room

State and Territorial Health Leaders Commend Selection of Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald for CDC Director

ARLINGTON, VA (July 7, 2017)—The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) commends the Administration for nominating Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald to serve as director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fitzgerald has served as commissioner and state health officer of the Georgia Department of Public Health since 2011, directing the state’s 18 public health districts and 159 county health departments and overseeing various state public health programs.

“Brenda comes to the job with experiences as a successful leader in public health and healthcare” says Dr. Jay Butler, ASTHO president and chief medical officer for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. “Her accomplishments in Georgia and her many contributions to ASTHO are a testament to her commitment to promote, protect, and improve the health of all Americans. Her perspectives gained from clinical practice as well as serving as chief of a state public health agency will be crucial to her success as director of our nation’s premiere public health agency.”

Fitzgerald currently serves as president-elect of ASTHO, is a board-certified Obstetrician-Gynecologist, and has practiced medicine for more than three decades. She was in private practice before being tapped by Gov. Nathan Deal in 2010 to be part of his transition team, and then was ultimately selected to lead the Georgia Department of Public Health in 2011. As state health official, Fitzgerald has undertaken many state public health initiatives including launching the “Talk with me Baby” initiative to encourage increased language development among Georgia babies; leading a statewide, multi-faceted childhood obesity initiative, called the Georgia Student Health and Physical Education (SHAPE) Initiative, which took Georgia’s childhood obesity rate from second highest in the nation to 17th in just five years; and coordinating efforts across the state during the Ebola virus disease epidemic and protecting Georgia residents from the Zika virus through a Zika Awareness Campaign.

“Dr. Fitzgerald’s first-hand experience working at the frontlines of public health and dealing with real-time health emergencies make her an ideal leader for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” says Dr. Michael Fraser, executive director of ASTHO. “Her collaborative approach to addressing both infectious disease and chronic health issues will serve the CDC well. We look forward to supporting her in this new role and working with CDC leadership well into the future to protect all Americans from health threats and promote optimal health for all.”

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 Hospital in Atlanta and held an assistant clinical professorship at Emory Medical Center. As a Major in the U.S. Air Force, Fitzgerald served at the Wurtsmith Air Force Strategic Air Command Base in Michigan and at the Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in state-based public health practice.