Santa Rosa, CA – April 12, 2019 – This week Dr. Celeste Philip, MD, MPH, began serving as the County’s Health Officer after the Board of Supervisors appointed her following an extensive nationwide search.
Dr. Philip comes to the County after a successful career serving as the state of Florida’s Surgeon General and Secretary of Health for almost three years—managing a staff of over 13,000 with a $3 billion budget.
The County is fortunate to have a former state Health Secretary and Surgeon General of Dr. Philip’s caliber and experience to serve as health officer. We look forward to her leadership in helping the County navigate its public health efforts going forward,” said Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chair David Rabbitt.
Prior to her role as Health Secretary and Surgeon General for Florida, the third most populous state, Dr. Philip served in various leadership positions within the Florida Department of Health, totaling over 10 years.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to join the Sonoma County Department of Health Services (DHS) and return to local public health. I look forward to fostering strong relationships within the community to improve the health and resiliency of all residents,” said Dr. Philip.
The County Health Officer is responsible for the protection and promotion of the public's health for all in Sonoma County. She will also oversee the work of the DHS Public Health Division located at 625 Fifth Street in downtown Santa Rosa as well as work with other departments, community partners and other counties to improve health on both a programmatic and a policy level.
Having a nationally recognized public health leader with a proven record of responding to today’s complex and ever-changing community health needs is an incredible opportunity for the Department and County,” said DHS Director Barbie Robinson. “I am eager for Dr. Philip to begin leading our key public health programs as well as addressing the specific health inequities affecting our diverse County.
As Florida’s chief health official, Dr. Philip had a prominent role in shaping the state’s response to the Zika virus in 2016 and successfully limited mosquito-borne transmission of the virus in south Florida. Last year, the CDC reported zero local mosquito-borne transmitted cases of Zika virus in Florida compared to 218 cases in 2016.
She also managed the state’s public health and medical efforts during hurricanes Hermine (2016), Matthew (2016), Irma (2017), Nate (2017), and Michael (2018), and has extensive experience serving in public health leadership roles during emergency response efforts.
While Surgeon General of Florida, Dr. Philip advocated the state legislature to streamline the state’s HIV funding to support vital HIV prevention strategies, which was passed by lawmakers unanimously. As a result, all county health departments in Florida began providing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) by the end of 2018.
A graduate of Howard University, Dr. Philip earned a Master of Public Health in maternal and child health and a Doctor of Medicine from Loma Linda University in California.
Dr. Philip also serves on the board of directors for the Public Health Accreditation Board and the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention and was named the 2016 Outstanding Woman in Public Health by the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health.