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Public health official named as CDC director

Brenda Fitzgerald, an obstetrician-gynecologist and public health commissioner for Georgia, is to oversee the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Her appointment, announced by the Department of Health and Human Services on 7 July, was praised by a number of public health groups, but some are raising concerns about her corporate ties and her support for questionable medical treatments.

Fitzgerald was a practicing physician for several decades before taking over Georgia’s department of public health in 2011. She has also been involved in politics; twice as a candidate for Congress and as an advisor to Republican lawmakers Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House, and senator Paul Coverdell. She is the president-elect of a national organization of public health agencies.

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