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Alumni update: Slade-Sawyer ’92 appointed director of NC Public Health

Rear Admiral Penelope Slade-Sawyer, MSW ’92, has been appointed director of the North Carolina Division of Public Health, effective March 3, 2014.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos made the announcement on January 23, 2014, at the annual State Health Director’s Conference in Raleigh.

Slade-Sawyer is a Commissioned Corps Officer in the U.S. Public Health Service and serves as Assistant Surgeon General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. She holds a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy (’71) and a master’s degree in social work from UNC-Chapel Hill.

“From newborn screenings to chronic disease prevention and management, the functions of the Division of Public Health are vital to protecting the health and safety of all North Carolinians,” said Secretary Wos. “Rear Admiral Slade-Sawyer has been instrumental in setting national agendas for public health research, for program and initiative development, and for care. We are excited that she will be joining our leadership team.”

Prior to serving as assistant surgeon general, Slade-Sawyer served for seven years as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and directed the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, she was responsible for strengthening the disease prevention and health promotion priorities of the department.

Slade-Sawyer will be working closely with Dr. Robin Gary Cummings, who will continue as acting State Health Director. The DHHS Division of Public Health is responsible for approximately 1,800 employees and $800 million in state and federal funds each year.

Source: UNC’s Division of Physical Therapy