Mayor appoints Atlanta’s first-ever chief health officer

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms recently announced the appointment of Dr. Angelica Geter Fugerson to serve as the first-ever Chief Health Officer for the city of Atlanta, according to a press release.

Dr. Fugerson is a 15-year health expert with experience working at the federal, state, and local levels. Her research and program experience have focused on HIV/AIDS and public health services as well as equity and health disparities in the Southern United States. She is a former Research Fellow of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has published more than 25 articles and presented at numerous national and international scientific meetings. She holds a DrPH in Health Behavior with a minor in Biostatistics from the University of Kentucky, and MPH in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education from Emory University. Dr. Fugerson is an alumna of the Health Policy Leadership Fellowship of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute of Morehouse School of Medicine.

The Chief Health Officer will focus on combating the leading causes of illness and disability in Atlanta, improving health literacy rates, and assessing emerging health needs to improve community health. A primary goal of the position will be to build coalitions across the city to reduce new HIV transmissions, asthma rates, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses affecting the Atlanta community.

The Chief Health Officer will also actively play an integral role in community engagement efforts. Dr. Fugerson will advise the Mayor and serve as the bridge between key stakeholders including Fulton and DeKalb counties (which are tasked with public health by state law), local hospitals, and other community health organizations to ensure coordination and consistency across overlapping areas of service. The Chief Health Officer will also identify priorities for action and direct municipal activities and investment with the goal of improving the long-term health outcomes of Atlanta residents.

The Bottoms Administration has taken an active role in addressing public health needs and issues in Atlanta. In 2019, Mayor Bottoms allocated funding to the Atlanta PrEP Expansion Project (ATLPrEP) to establish an intergovernmental agreement between the City of Atlanta and the Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH) to increase the scope and reach of PrEP via the Fulton County Board of Health’s mobile health units.

Dr. Fugerson’s appointment is effective immediately.