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.

David Bayne

David M. Bayne serves as the Director of Government Relations for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) where he manages the department's legislative and external affairs. He started at DPH in 2011, first serving as the deputy director for the Office of Government Relations. Prior to coming to DPH, David worked for the Georgia Senate Budget and Evaluation Office (SBEO) as a Senior Analyst staffing the Senate Health and Senate Human Development Appropriations Subcommittees, which included the budgets for the Department of Community Health, and the former Division of Public Health.

David attended Berry College where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Government. He is a member of Berry's Alumni Council, and is actively involved in community efforts in Atlanta's Vine City neighborhood. David is currently completing his Master's degree in Public Health at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health. 

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.

Cherie Drenzek

Dr. Cherie Drenzek grew up in Detroit, Michigan and received her bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences and her Master's degree in Food Microbiology from Wayne State University in Detroit. She attended Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine and received her DVM in 1995; the same year, she entered the Epidemic Intelligence Service program at CDC and was stationed in the Rabies Section. Following EIS, Cherie was employed as an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.

Cherie has been employed at the Georgia Department of Public Health since 1999 and has served in a variety of roles, including infectious disease medical epidemiologist and State Public Health Veterinarian. Cherie served as Director of the Acute Disease Epidemiology Section and Deputy State Epidemiologist since October 2005 and was named State Epidemiologist and Director of the Epidemiology Program on August 1, 2011.

Christine Greene

Christine Greene joined the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) in April 2011 during the transition to the new agency.  She serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff, where she provides support to the programs within the Office of the Chief of Staff, oversees the Georgia SHAPE Childhood Obesity Initiative and the Worksite Wellness program, has responsibility for the Medicaid policy and billing areas, and is liaison to the 18 local Public Health District Administrators. Prior to her role as Deputy Chief Staff, she led the Special Projects Office under the Chief of Staff.  
Ms. Greene came to DPH with over 30 years of public health administration experience, serving at the local level in the Fulton County where she retired as the Director of Administrative Services for Fulton's Health and Human Services Agency.  
She received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Georgia State University.  She also currently serves as the President of the Fulton Life Enrichment Foundation, Inc., the mission of which is support children and youth health programs in Fulton County.

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 Public 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.

Nancy Nydam

Nancy Nydam is the Director of Communications for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

During her previous three years with DPH, Nancy was the manager of media relations and external communication. In that role, she was responsible for overseeing all media inquiries and speaking and interview requests. Nancy also developed talking points and presentations for Dr. Fitzgerald.

Nancy has more than 20 years of experience in broadcast news. She served as news director in several of the country's top television markets including Boston, Atlanta and Norfolk, Va. and held news management positions in TV stations around the U.S. An Emmy-nominated television news producer, Nancy has covered major breaking news events including the terrorist attacks of 9-11, the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, the O.J. Simpson trial, the Virginia Tech campus shooting, and the 2000 GOP Presidential Debate.

Nancy is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan and majored in Political Science at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. She interned at the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C. and also was an intern for U.S. Rep. Harold Sawyer, (R), MI-05. 

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 offices of finance, human resources, facilities, and contracts and procurement. 
Ms. Pfirman has worked in state government since 1995. Over her 19 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 (OPB), and deputy commissioner at the Department of Human Resources (DHR).
She received her bachelor's degree in Economics from Emory University and her master's degree in Accounting from The American University in Washington, D.C.  Ms. Pfirman is a certified public accountant.

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.






Page last updated 05/10/16