UGA dean elected chair of Georgia Department of Public Health

Phillip L. Williams, dean of the University of Georgia College of Public Health, has been elected to serve a one-year term as chair of the state Board of Public Health, which oversees the Georgia Department of Public Health.

DPH is the lead department charged with the ultimate responsibility for the health of Georgia’s communities and the entire population. At the state level, DPH is divided into numerous branches, sections, programs and offices, and at the local level, DPH functions through 18 health districts and 159 county health departments.

Williams was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal as an inaugural member of the board in 2011. He was reappointed for a three-year term in 2014 and has served as vice chair for the past two years. He succeeds Dr. Kathryn Cheek, pediatrician and former president of the Georgia chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (GAAAP), as chair of the board. Other prominent members include Dr. James Curran, dean of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, and John Haupert, president and CEO of Grady Health System.

Williams is the founding Dean of the UGA College of Public Health and also holds the Georgia Power Professorship of Environmental Health Science in the College’s Department of Environmental Health Science.

Under Williams’ leadership, the College was awarded full accreditation in June 2009 and was reaccredited for seven more years in 2014; has more than doubled its enrollment with more than 800 current students; graduated more than 690 doctoral, master’s and undergraduate students; and moved six of the College’s seven units to the UGA Health Sciences Campus located at the former U.S. Naval Supply Corps School site.

An expert on chemical exposure and other toxicological threats, he has authored more than 100 scientific publications, three textbooks on toxicology, and has spoken at numerous professional conferences and meetings, including 15 in other countries.  He has been an adviser on chemical safety and hazardous materials issues to many government agencies and businesses, including the Hanford Nuclear Site in the state of Washington and OSHA for standards on occupational limits for toxic substances.

Williams serves on a number of boards including the Athens Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees, the Mercy Health Center Board of Advisors in Athens, GA, and the Board of Scientific Counselors for CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

– Rebecca Ayer

Posted on September 1, 2015.