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Engel appointed as State Health Director

Release Date: February 24, 2009
Contact: Mark Van Sciver, 919-733-9190

RALEIGH – Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Lanier Cansler today announced the appointment of Dr. Jeffrey P. Engel, M.D., as North Carolina State Health Director. He succeeds Dr. Leah Devlin who retired as State Health Director in January but who has continued to serve in an interim capacity. Engel’s appointment is effective March 2. (Photo of Dr. Engel, 300 KB)

“North Carolina is indeed lucky to have tapped the talents and expertise of Dr. Jeff Engel to serve as State Health Director and as Director of the Division of Public Health,” Cansler said.  “North Carolina has long been considered a national leader in its proactive approaches to public health issues.  Dr. Engel will continue to build upon the strong and enduring foundations built by his predecessors – Dr. Leah Devlin and Dr. Ron Levine – as he guides the state’s public health efforts in the years to come.”

“I am very honored, humbled and at the same time excited to be appointed as North Carolina’s State Health Director,” Dr. Engel said. “I want to thank Sec. Cansler and Gov. Perdue for allowing me the opportunity to serve and to thank my predecessor, Dr. Leah Devlin, for her support and encouragement. I look forward to leading an outstanding and dedicated group of employees in the Division.

“North Carolina has an ambitious public health agenda before it. We face tough economic times. It is in times such as these that we must be most vigilant to maintain our successes and find new strategies to make us a healthier state. It will be our job to ensure that public health is a top priority because regardless of your wealth or circumstances, health is critical to a person’s quality of life. And we recognize that our greatest gains are made through strong investments in the prevention of health problems before they occur. We are fortunate in North Carolina to have outstanding local health departments working to improve health for everyone in our state as well as an outstanding cadre of dedicated public health professionals working at the state level – all of whom give credence to our public health motto: ‘Working for a Healthier and Safer North Carolina – Everywhere. Everyday. Everybody.’”

Sec. Cansler’s announcement of the appointment of a new State Health Director is the first of several changes planned within the Division.

“Our Public Health Division boasts one of the state’s strongest leadership teams, which we will be tapping as we plan efforts to further improve our prevention efforts as well as improvements in care quality and care management,” Sec. Cansler said. “Current Deputy Director, Dr. Steve Cline, will be taking on new and expanded duties in the area of health information technology, and Deputy Division Director Dennis Harrington will continue working with local health agencies and departments in providing new opportunities for community-based health improvement and clinical care.”

Since 2002, Dr. Engel has served as the State Epidemiologist.  In 2006, he was named Chief of the Epidemiology Section of the Division. From 1988-2002, he was on the faculty at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in Greenville, where he attained the rank of Professor of Medicine, served as Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and Medical Director of Hospital Infection Control for Pitt County Memorial Hospital. Dr. Engel received his undergraduate (1977) and medical (1981) degrees from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, and did his residency, chief residency, and fellowship training at the University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center from 1981-88.