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Executive Leadership Team

Listed Alphabetically

Sid Barrett

Sid Barrett joined the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) in June 2011, after 11 years as Section Chief for the Consumer Interests Section in the Office of the Attorney General. As General Counsel, he advises the Commissioner of DPH and supervises a staff of legal service officers within the agency.

Before entering public service, Mr. Barrett was a partner in the firm of Porter & Barrett, engaged in the litigation, arbitration and mediation of complex commercial disputes. In addition, he served as a mediator and arbitrator for several courts and private organizations, including the American Arbitration Association, American Stock Exchange, and the National Association of Securities Dealers, for whom he helped design and implement a nationwide arbitrator training program. Mr. Barrett received a Bachelor of Arts from Davidson College and a Juris Doctorate from Emory University School of Law.


Janie Brodnax

Janie Brodnax serves as Chief Operations Officer for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

Since coming to DPH in 2005, Ms. Brodnax has served as DPH Transition Team Lead, Director of Contracts Administration, Senior Director of Contracts and Insurance Management, Administrative Services Section Director, and Administrative Operations Manager. Prior to coming to DPH, Ms. Brodnax worked at Georgia Regional Hospital Atlanta under the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD).

Ms. Brodnax has over 30 years experience in Finance, Operations, Facilitation, Projects Management, Change Management, Process Improvement, Human Resources, Facilities Management, Procurement and Contract Management, Management Consultation and Corporate Leadership in both private and public sectors. Ms. Brodnax earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, cum laude, from American Military University, Manassas, Virginia. She is a lifetime member of The Golden Key International Honour Society, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Delta Mu Delta.


Russell Crutchfield

Russell Crutchfield serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

Prior to this role, Mr. Crutchfield served as DPH’s first Director of Government Relations and held positions with the Governor’s Office and Planning and Budget and the Georgia Department at Labor. His experience working in the public health arena began while previously serving as the Director of Legislative and External Affairs for the Georgia Department of Community Health that formerly included the Division of Public Health. During previous legislative sessions, Mr. Crutchfield served as a legislative aide in Georgia’s State Senate and House of Representatives.

Mr. Crutchfield holds a Bachelor’s degree in political science and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of West Georgia.


Yvette Daniels

Yvette Daniels serves as the Director of Health Promotion for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), where she oversees four programs including Maternal and Child Health, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, the Volunteer Health Care Program and the Office of Health Equity.

Previously she was the Deputy Director of Legislative and External Affairs, where she was responsible for the development and direction of the legislative goals and agenda for areas impacting Public Health. She also worked to strengthen relationships with key policymakers and provide oversight for the resolution of legislative constituent issues and concerns. Ms. Daniels was previously the Director of Legislation and Policy for the Division of Public Health during its tenure in the Department of Human Resources (DHR), and also served as Legal Services Manager where she reviewed Division legal actions to ensure compliance with state and federal law and provided guidance concerning the statutory responsibilities of the Division and County Boards of Health statewide.

Before joining DPH, Ms. Daniels was an Assistant State Attorney with the State Attorney’s Office in Jacksonville, Florida. As an Assistant State Attorney, Ms. Daniels was assigned to the Sexual Assault Unit with responsibility for prosecuting sex offenses against children and women. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia and her Juris Doctorate from the University Of Georgia School of Law.


Ryan Deal

Ryan Deal serves as the Director, Division of Communications for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). As the chief communications officer, Mr. Deal oversees all aspects of internal and external communications for the Department and its programs and divisions. His team manages all marketing and communications plans and vendors while guiding communicators in Georgia’s 18 public health districts. Mr. Deal most recently served in the same capacity at the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH), which recently also housed Public Health.

Mr. Deal joined public health in 2010 to serve as the State Public Health Risk Communicator in the Section of Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR), managing all aspects of the Public Health/Emergency Preparedness and Response Risk Communication Program to plan, prepare for and respond to statewide disease outbreaks, natural and man-made disasters.

Before joining the public sector, Mr. Deal worked as an Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist with appearances on FOX News, CNN, CNN International and CBS.  He drew on that experience to lead crisis and emergency communication teams during the H1N1 pandemic response, a national foodborne disease outbreak, and he served as a public relations and marketing consultant for a variety of Fortune 500 corporations and non-profit groups. Mr. Deal also served as a college instructor at East Carolina University.

Mr. Deal earned a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism at Emerson College in Boston and recently studied Radiological Emergency Planning: Terrorism, Security, and Communication at the Harvard University School of Public Health. He serves as the Co-Chair of the new Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy and is the state's voting member in the CDC's National Public Health Information Coalition.


James C. Howgate, II

James C. Howgate, II, MPH serves as the Chief of Staff for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

Mr. Howgate first joined public health at the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness in Atlanta in 2005, where he served as the Director of the Division of Population Health Department of Health and Wellness, and later as an Epidemiologist. In 2009, he joined the Division of Public Health under the Department of Community Health (DCH) as the Departmental Enterprise Coordinator, where he acted as a conduit between Departmental administrative functions and all Public Health Programs across the state. Prior to his work in Public Health, Mr. Howgate worked for the Georgia Emerging Infections Program in the Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Infectious Diseases where he managed several federally funded epidemiological studies.

Mr. Howgate earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia in 1991, and later earned a Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology in 2000 from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.


Carole C. Jakeway

Carole C. Jakeway, MPH, BSN, RN, NEA-BC serves as the District and County Operations Director for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), where she oversees the Pharmacy and Nursing programs. Prior to her role as director in 2009, Ms. Jakeway served as the Chief Nurse for the Georgia Division of Public Health under the Department of Community Health (DCH) for 20 years.

She has over 40 years of public health nursing experience in the states of Washington, South Carolina and Georgia that include staff nursing, school health, home health, supervision, consultation and administration. This experience includes 15 years with local county health departments and the remainder with official state public health agencies. Ms. Jakeway served as President of the Association of State and Territorial Directors of Nursing (ASTDN), the nursing affiliate of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) during 2001-2002 and has served on multiple ASTDN Committees.

She completed the scholars program with the national Pubic Health Leadership Institute, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

She received her Master of Public Health degree from the University of South Carolina and a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Mercy College of Detroit. Ms. Jakeway is a member of Delta Omega, the honorary public health society and is currently certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as Nurse Executive, Advanced.


Rick Keheley

Rick Keheley is the Director of the Office of Inspector General (IG) for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

Mr. Keheley formerly served as DPH’s Deputy Director of the Office of Inspector General. In this capacity, he was responsible for the internal and background investigations units.

Before moving to the IG’s Office in 2011, Mr. Keheley worked in Vital Records, training 159 Georgia county registrars, probate judges and staff as well as coroners and funeral service directors on electronic death reporting in the Vital Events Information System (VEIS).

From 2007-2010, Mr. Keheley investigated major cases with the Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office, where he handled the trial preparation for major felony cases.

From 2005-2006, Mr. Keheley was the special agent in charge in the Office of Investigative Services for the Georgia Department of Human Resources, where he was responsible for the internal and background investigations units.

Mr. Keheley has 31 years of law enforcement experience with the Cobb County Police Department. He was promoted to the rank of Major before retiring from the department. He worked in the patrol and detective bureaus, which included the organized crime unit, crimes against persons unit, criminal investigations unit and Marietta/Cobb/Smyrna narcotics task force.

As Adjutant to the Deputy Chief Uniform Bureau, Mr. Keheley was responsible for the Cobb County anti-gang enforcement unit, ranger unit and ultimately served as Commander of Cobb County Police Precinct II.

 

J. Patrick O’Neal, M.D.

J. Patrick O’Neal, M.D. serves as the Director of Health Protection for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), where he has oversight responsibility for Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Trauma, Emergency Preparedness, Epidemiology, Infectious Disease, Immunizations, and Environmental Health.

Since 2002, Dr. O’Neal served as the Medical Director for the Office of EMS/Trauma in the Georgia Division of Public Health under the Department of Community Health (DCH). For 29 years prior, he practiced emergency medicine at DeKalb Medical Center in Decatur. In his final seven years at Dekalb Medical Center, he served as the Regional Medical Director for EMS throughout the Greater Atlanta area. Dr. O’Neal formerly served as Director of the Outpatient Clinic at the Medical Center of Central Georgia for two years before his work at Dekalb.

He completed an undergraduate program at Davidson College in North Carolina and received his medical education at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Following medical school, he completed a rotating internship at Providence Hospital, Portland, Oregon, prior to entering the United States Air Force for training in flight medicine. Dr. O’Neal served as a flight surgeon in Viet Nam in 1970-71.


Kate Pfirman

Kate Pfirman serves as the Chief Financial Officer for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), where she oversees the financial services, grant management and budget offices.

Ms. Pfirman has been with state government since 1995. Over her 16-year career with the state, she has held various positions, including Treasurer at the Department of Transportation (DOT), Chief Administrative Officer at Georgia Technology Authority (GTA), Division Director at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (OPB), and Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Human Resources (DHR).


Paul W. Ruth

Paul W. Ruth serves as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), where he manages and oversees all of DPH’s information technology endeavors and projects across the state.

Mr. Ruth joins public health after 29 years in Cobb County where he served the last 14 years as Information Services Director, focusing on the enhancement of service through strategic alignment and collaborations.

He is responsible for the ongoing, statewide transformation of IT and will work closely with districts to lead the development of the new statewide WIC Information System and the new Vital Records Information System.

Mr. Ruth is also chair of the DPH Information Services Governance Council, an important collaboration to ensure DPH's information services needs are met in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

From 2012 – 2013, he served as president of GMIS International, a professional association of government IT leaders. Additionally, Mr. Ruth served as president, secretary and treasurer for the Georgia chapter of GMIS from 2004 to 2012.

Mr. Ruth earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, cum laude, in management at Kennesaw State University. He has been awarded certifications through the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia for public management development and information technology leadership.