District Health Directors

Northwest Health District, District 1-1

The Northwest Health District is committed to protecting and improving the health of the more than half a million residents of the 10-county health district. The counties are Bartow, Catoosa. Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Haralson, Paulding, Polk and Walker. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, District 1-1 oversees environmental health, disease control and community and family health. The district also plans and works with community partners to strengthen Northwest Georgia's emergency-preparedness-and response-capabilities.

Zachary Taylor, M.D., M.S. 
North Georgia Health District, District 1-2

C. Wade Sellers, MD, MPH

Zachary Taylor, MD, MS, is the health director for North Georgia Health District, District 1-2, based in Dalton. District 1-2 includes Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties. Originally from LaGrange, Dr. Taylor graduated from LaGrange College with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry. He earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia and his Master of Science degree from the University of Maryland. He completed an internship in internal medicine at the University of Kentucky and a residency in preventive medicine at the University of Maryland.Dr. Taylor served for 30 years as an Officer in the United States Public Health Service, including clinical practice with the Indian Health Service from 1983 to 1987 and public health practice with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other Health and Human Services agencies from 1989 to 2015. Dr. Taylor recently retired with the rank of Assistant Surgeon General. He and his wife, Joanie, relocated to Dalton from Colorado in July 2015, and they have two adult children and two grandchildren.

David N. Westfall, M.D., M.P.H., C.P.E. 
North Health District, District 2

David N. Westfall, MD, MPH, CPEWestfall serves as the District Health Director for the North Health District, District 2. After earning a bachelor's degree in English and a medical degree from the University of Florida, he completed a family medicine residency in Newport News, Virginia serving as chief resident during his third year. He then served in the U.S. Navy for three years in Pensacola, Florida. He had an active family medicine practice for 18 years before accepting an offer to become the vice president of medical affairs for Northeast Georgia Health System. He accepted the district health director position for North Health District in February, 2006, and subsequently earned a master's degree in public health at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health, where he also serves as an affiliated faculty member. Westfall and his wife, Faye, have three grown daughters. Westfall enjoys many outdoor activities, including backpacking, bicycling, motorcycling and sailing.

John (Jack) D. Kennedy, M.D., M.B.A. 
Cobb & Douglas Health District, District 3-1

Jack D. Kennedy, MD, MBAKennedy serves as the District Health Director for the Cobb & Douglas Health District, District 3-1. He practiced general surgery in the U.S. Air Force and subsequently in Marietta, Georgia for 26 years and served as the founding board chairman of the Good Samaritan Health Center of Cobb. He is currently serving as an affiliated professor in the Office of Applied Public Health at the Rollins School of Public Health. Kennedy earned both a bachelor's degree and a medical degree from Duke University and a master's degree in business administration from Kennesaw State University. Kennedy and his wife, Maurine, have two adult children and have lived in Marietta, Georgia since 1986. He enjoys singing and backpacking.

Kathleen Toomey, M.D.
Fulton Health District, District 3-2

Dr. Toomey serves as the District Health Director for the Fulton Health District, District 3-2. She joined the Fulton District in 2016 after years of distinguished service in the field of public health, holding key leadership positions with the State of Georgia and both national and international leadership positions with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most recently she served as the CDC’s Country Director in Botswana.  In addition to other leadership positions with the CDC, Dr. Toomey previously served as the Director of the Division of Public Health with the Georgia Department of Human Resources.

Dr. Toomey earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Smith College. After studying as a Fulbright Scholar in Peru, Dr. Toomey earned both MD and MPH degrees from Harvard University. She also served as a Pew Health Policy Research Fellow.

Alpha Fowler Bryan, M.D. 
Clayton Health District, District 3-3

Alpha Fowler Bryan, MDBryan serves as the District Health Director for the Clayton Health District, District 3-3. Bryan received her bachelor's degree in mathematics and minor in economics from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. She received a medical degree from Meharry Medical College and completed a residency in family practice in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1985, Bryan became medical director for the Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation, a federally-funded community health center in Centerville, Illinois, later becoming the director of the St. Louis County Department of Health in 1991, providing management and oversight for the county's largest department. Bryan was appointed assistant division director for the Department of Human Resources, of the then Division of Public Health in 1998 and in 2001 became the district health director in Cobb & Douglas. She has served as the district health director for the Clayton Health District since 2007.

Lloyd M. Hofer, M.D., M.P.H. 
Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Health District, District 3-4

Lloyd M. Hofer, MD, MPHHofer serves as the District Health Director for the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Health District, District 3-4. Hofer received a medical degree in 1973 from the University of Alabama. Hofer is board certified in pediatrics and certified in medical management and practiced pediatrics and adolescent health in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and Montgomery, Alabama. In 1987, Hofer began his professional career in public health with the Alabama Department of Public Health where he served as the director of the Division of Child Health until 1992. In 1992, Hofer accepted the position of the District 4 health director in LaGrange, Georgia. He served in this capacity until 1997. From 1997 to 2001 Hofer was an associate medical director for Blue Cross Blue Shield in Tennessee and Alabama. Hofer returned to Georgia public health in January 2002 as the director of Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Health District.

S. Elizabeth Ford, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.P.
DeKalb Health District, District 3-5

S. Elizabeth Ford, MD, MBA, FAAPFord serves as the District Health Director for the DeKalb Health District, District 3-5. A board-certified pediatrician, Ford received a bachelor's degree in psychology from Stanford University, a medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine, and a master's degree in business administration with a focus in health services administration from Howard University Graduate School of Business. Ford also served as the Florida deputy state health officer and the deputy secretary for children's medical services and was responsible for oversight of health services for children with special health care needs. Ford serves on the board of many local organizations and was awarded the 2012 Humanitarian Award at the Dominique Wilkins Salute to the Legend ceremonies for her positive impact in the health community.

Olugbenga O. Obasanjo, M.D., Ph.D.
District 4 Public Health (LaGrange)

Olugbenga O. Obasanjo, MD, Ph.D

Dr. Obasanjo serves as the District Health Director for District 4 Public Health in LaGrange. He received his medical degree at the University of Ibadan, in Nigeria in 1994. He earned his Master of Public Health degree in 1996 and Doctor of Philosophy degree in epidemiology in 1999 from the Johns Hopkins University, gaining experience as an epidemiologist with the Maryland Department of Health during his doctoral studies. He completed an internship in internal medicine at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and returned to Johns Hopkins, where he completed his residency training in public health and preventive medicine in 2001. From 2002-2009, Dr. Obasanjo worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria and as a consultant to Nigerian governments and private industry on HIV prevention. He returned permanently to the U.S. in 2009 as a medical officer with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In May 2011, he began work as a physician in Prince William County in Northern Virginia then took a tour of duty in the Middle East with the U.S. Army as a Preventive Medicine Officer. Dr. Obasanjo enjoys riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle and reading. He also runs several half marathons every year to support various charities.

South Central Health District, District 5-1


North Central Health District, District 5-2

The North Central Health District (NCHD) serves a population of 521,000 individuals residing in 13 Central Georgia counties: Baldwin, Bibb, Crawford, Hancock, Houston, Jasper, Jones, Monroe, Peach, Putnam, Twiggs, Washington and Wilkinson. The NCHD is dedicated to preventing disease, promoting health, and protecting Central Georgia communities against health threats through education, service, advocacy, and collaboration.

Stephen Goggans, M.D., M.P.H.
East Central Health District, District 6

Dr. Goggans serves as the District Health Director for the East Central Health District, District 6. Dr. Goggans holds a doctorate in medicine from the Medical College of Georgia and earned his Bachelor of Arts from Emory University. He completed an internship in the Department of Pathology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia. Most recently, Dr. Goggans received his master’s degree in public health from the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health in 2013. Dr. Goggans brings more than 13 years of experience to DPH having held leadership roles at some of Georgia’s most prominent health care and educational institutions. Since 2002, he has served as an assistant professor of medicine in the Department of Medicine at Georgia Regents University while also delivering clinical care at the Georgia Regents Health System. 

Beverley Townsend, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.F.P. 
West Central Health District, District 7

Townsend serves as the District Health Director for the West Central Health District, District 7. She earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, a master's degree in pharmacology and toxicology from Purdue University, and a medical degree from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. She completed her residency in family medicine in Columbus, Georgia. She also earned a master's degree in business administration from Kennesaw State University. Townsend practiced family medicine in the rural counties of the Chattahoochee Valley area for nearly twenty-five years. She has served on numerous professional societies including serving as treasurer for the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians and president and secretary of the Columbus/Ft. Benning Medical Association. She has two adult sons.

William R. Grow, M.D., F.A.C.P. 
South Health District, District 8-1

Grow serves as the District Health Director for the South Health District, District 8-1. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Georgia and a medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia in 1970. After completing an internal medicine residency at the Medical College of Georgia, his last as chief resident, he entered the U.S. Air Force for two years and then moved to Valdosta, Georgia where he practiced medicine for 35 years and started Valdosta Medical Clinic in 1989 serving as its president for 20 years. He joined public health in December of 2010 as the district health director. In his leisure time, he enjoys quail hunting, aerobic outdoor activity, working with his horses, traveling, and spending time with his family, especially his grandkids.

Charles Ruis, M.D.
Southwest Health District, District 8-2

Charles Ruis, M.D., is the health director in the Southwest Health District, District 8-2. There he oversees 14 county health departments and two farm worker clinics. Prior to receiving his Bachelor of Science degree and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Medical College of Georgia, Dr. Ruis attended Georgia Southwestern and later the University of Georgia. He performed both his internship and his residency in family practice at Medical Center of Central Georgia. He is board-certified in family medicine. Most recently, Dr. Ruis served as medical director for Georgia Correctional Healthcare, providing physician services at Georgia state prisons. Prior to that, he was medical director for Federally Qualified Community Health Centers in Ocilla and Unadilla. He also has substantial experience in emergency medicine, including working at Sumter Regional Hospital from 2003 until it closed from tornado damage in 2005. Dr. Ruis has served as the chair of the Crisp County Board of Health since 2007. He and his wife, Barbara, are active in the Cordele First United Methodist Church and enjoy music and a variety of outdoor activities.

Lawton C. Davis, M.D. 
Coastal Health District, District 9-1

Dr. Davis serves as the District Health Director for the Coastal Health District, District 9-1. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Furman University and a medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia. After completing an internal medicine residency he spent one year on the Medical College of Georgia faculty before entering private practice in Dublin, Georgia. He practiced internal medicine for thirteen years, and worked full time as an ER physician for two years in Dublin. In 1998, Dr. Davis became the district health director for Georgia’s South Central District. He has served as the chair of the state's technical review committee (onsite sewage disposal) since its creation in July of 1999. He has served on the boards of multiple local organizations and is a proponent of strengthening public health's community presence through community involvement. Davis and his wife, Diane, have three grown children. He enjoys coastal boating and fishing and golf.

Rosemarie Parks, M.D., M.P.H. 
Southeast Health District, District 9-2

Parks serves as the District Health Director for the Southeast Health District, District 9-2. Parks has been in this position since July 2005. Parks was director of medical education at a federally-qualified health center before joining the Southeast Health District. She holds a master's degree in public health from Youngstown State University, Ohio, and a medical degree from Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine. She completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, Ohio. Parks is board certified in internal medicine. She also served as the director of the Internal Medicine Residency Ambulatory Care Clinic at St. Elizabeth Health Center. She and her husband, Marc, have two children.

Claude A. Burnett, M.D., M.A., M.P.H. 
Northeast Health District, District 10

Burnett serves as the District Health Director for the Northeast Health District, District 10. He was an epidemiologist at the CDC from 1971 to 1978. He has a master's degree in public health from the University of North Carolina and a master's degree in public policy from Duke University. He has experience with public health data systems since 1971 and has implemented surveys of teens and citizens to use for policy change. He and his wife, Barbara, have two children.






Page last updated 11/21/2016