July 13, 2017: J. Patrick O’Neal was appointed as the Acting Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) by Gov. Nathan Deal on Friday, July 7, 2017. O’Neal succeeds Brenda Fitzgerald, who resigned after she was appointed as the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. O’Neal was recently the Director of Health Protection at DPH, overseeing more than a dozen public health programs, including Epidemiology, Infectious Disease and Immunization, Emergency Preparedness and the Georgia Public Health Lab. He is also the Medical Director for the Office of EMS and Trauma. O’Neal previously practiced emergency medicine for twenty-nine years at the DeKalb Medical Center, and he was also the Regional Medical Director for EMS throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area. O’Neal received his medical degree from the Tulane University School of Medicine.