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Protect Your Family From Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Sunburn and skin damage can occur even on cloudy or overcast days.

More than 2,300 new cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, are diagnosed in Georgia every year. On average, 225 Georgians die from melanoma every year.

The good news is most skin cancers can be prevented.

• Minimize exposure to the sun during peak hours 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
• Seek shade from the midday sun 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
• Wear protective clothing, hats and sunglasses that protect the skin.
• Use a broad spectrum with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or more.
• Use on all parts of your skin exposed to the sun, including the ears, back, shoulders and the back
of the knees and legs.
• Reapply sunscreen after swimming, strenuous exercise or toweling off.

Enjoy all that Georgia has to offer outdoors, but take precautions to protect yourself and your family. Have a sun-safe summer!


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Commissioner's Corner

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

Widespread Flu in Georgia

January 12, 2018

ATLANTA –  If you have not gotten a flu shot yet, do not wait any longer! Flu is widespread in Georgia, and more than three hundred individuals have been hospitalized with flu-related illness.