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UPDATED: Allegheny County Names New Health Director

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include information from an Allegheny County news release. Links to stories from local media on the announcement were also added. 

Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald on Wednesday announced that the incoming health department director will be Dr. Debra Bogen of Pittsburgh.

“Please welcome Dr. Debra Bogen as the new director of (ACHD). A pediatrician with (Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh), she will be formally appointed later today by the Board of Health and is expected to assume the position in May,” he tweeted.

He then thanked members of the board of health for its help in the selection process.

“And a special thanks to Ron Sugar and the entire team at (ACHD) for the work they’ve done — and continue to do — to protect the health of Allegheny County residents.”

The county has been seeking a new leader for the health department since the departure of Karen Hacker, who left in July to take a position with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to her bio on the UPMC Health Policy Institute, Bogen is a professor of pediatrics, psychiatry and clinical and translational science and director of the Fellowship in General Academic Pediatrics and HRSA NRSA T32 in Primary Care Research.

She is also the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine vice chair for education in the Department of Pediatrics and co-medical director of quality, safety and outcomes, Children’s Community Pediatrics.

She earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Barnard College of Columbia University, her medical degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and did both her pediatric residency and fellowship in general Academic Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins.

“We have many challenges ahead of us, but her focus on health equity and addressing those health issues where rates are racially disparate will allow us to continue moving towards a county that works for all. Just as importantly, she is energized and excited to jump into this position and serve our community,” Fitzgerald said in a press release issued by the county around lunchtime Wednesday. “We are delighted to have her.”

According to the release, the committee overseeing the search for the new director “sought a person that could work with and build consensus among various stakeholders, embrace innovation as a way to support public health, prioritize and focus on issues that underscore the department’s mission, and would serve as the public face of the department.”

While the search was national, county officials said their pick is ended up being someone “right here in our own backyard.” The entire release can be viewed on the Allegheny County website. 

“We look forward to working with Dr. Bogen to champion air quality issues when she takes the helm of the health depart in May,” GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini said.

Here’s a roundup of local news stories about the announcement:

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