S. Elizabeth Ford, MD elected vice president of NACCHO

Dr. Sandra Ford
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S. Elizabeth Ford, MD, who serves as DeKalb County District Health Director and interim Fulton County District Health Director, has been elected vice president of the National Association of County and City Health Officials( NACCHO).

NACCHO is the voice of the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments. As board vice president, Ford will serve on the Board of Directors’ Executive Committee as vice president in 2019-2020 before assuming the positions of president-elect in 2020-2021 and president in 2021-2022, respectively.  Ford began her first term as an officer on July 1.

“I am both honored and excited to have been elected vice president of NACCHO, the premier organization for local public health,” Ford said. “I’m looking forward to representing our members and working with the Board to continue to expand our public health footprint through partnerships and member engagement.  NACCHO provides critical advocacy and subject matter expertise to the local public health community, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to serve the members of this amazing organization.”

NACCHO Chief Executive Officer Lori Tremmel Freeman commended Ford’s election to a leadership position on the board.

“NACCHO is pleased to see Dr. Ford’s progression on the board to an officer position and member of the Executive Committee. Her local governmental public health leadership experience in Georgia, coupled with strong previous volunteerism in NACCHO, will benefit our organization significantly,” said Freeman.

A board-certified pediatrician, Ford has served as District Health Director and Chief Executive Officer of the DeKalb County Board of Health since February 2005. She manages a diverse array of public health programs that serve more than 730,000 people who live in the county.

Ford was appointed by Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D. to serve as interim director for the Fulton County Board of Health shortly after Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Toomey health commissioner in March 2019. Before her appointment, Toomey served as director for the Fulton County Board of Health.

Under Ford’s leadership, the DeKalb County Board of Health has successfully applied for more than $15 million in federal funds to address health disparities, including $5.6 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to promote smoke-free environments, physical fitness and improved nutrition. More recently, the agency received a Minority Youth Violence Prevention: Integrating Public Health and Community Policing Approaches grant from DHHS and the U.S. Department of Justice aimed at curbing violence and improving the health and well-being of underserved and distressed communities. The agency also recently received a Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ford was asked to serve as the Acting Director of the Georgia Department of Community Health’s Division of Public Health during the agency’s reorganization in 2008, where she helped to develop statewide policies and legislation and enforce public health laws and regulations.

Ford received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Stanford University, a medical degree from Howard University’s College of Medicine and a master’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Health Services Administration from Howard University’s Graduate School of Business.  She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Ford has been a member of NACCHO since 2006 and has served on the Membership Committee for many years, first as a member and currently as its Chair.  In 2017, she was elected as an at-large member of NACCHO’s Board of Directors.

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