Governor Deal Issues Emergency Declaration for 92 Counties

Based on the latest forecast for Hurricane Michael and acting on a recommendation from Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS) officials, Gov. Nathan Deal today issued an emergency declaration for 92 Georgia counties.

“The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Michael,” said Deal. “In light of the storm’s forecasted track, I encourage Georgians in the affected counties to be prepared and remain vigilant. We will continue to monitor Hurricane Michael’s path and GEMA/HS is leading our preparedness efforts. We are also working with federal, state and local officials to provide public shelter and accommodate those evacuating from other states. I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Michael.”

For more information on hurricane preparedness, visit the GEMA/HS website here


Convenient flu shots offered at North Georgia's drive-thru clinics

The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination, but the most convenient way to get that vaccination in North Georgia is at the nearest public health “Drive-thru Flu Shot Clinic” in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties...

Opioids: Helpful or harmful?

In 2017, almost two-thirds of drug overdose deaths in Georgia were attributed to opioids.  Is it ever safe to use them?  Learn the pros and cons...

STD numbers continue to increase across Augusta area

Since 2013, the number of sexually transmitted diseases have continually increased in Richmond and Columbia counties, raising concerns with public health officials in the area...


One in three Georgians is obese: Learn healthy eating. 

Over 30 percent of Georgia adults are obese. Therefore, it is important for Georgians to be mindful of what they eat, when they eat, where they eat and why they eat....

Commissioner's Message

J. Patrick O’Neal, M.D. was appointed Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health July 7, 2017, by Governor Nathan Deal. 

In addition to his role of commissioner, Dr. O’Neal 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 has 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, before 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.

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News Releases

Vaccination is the Best Protection Against the Flu

October 9, 2018

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Pediatric Healthcare Improvement Coalition of Georgia (PHIC) encourage all parents to fully vaccinate their children, ages six months and older, each year against influenz