- Associated Press - Thursday, January 23, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - An assistant U.S. surgeon general will be North Carolina’s next director of the Division of Public Health.

State health and human services Secretary Dr. Aldona Wos (vahsh) announced Thursday that Rear Adm. Penelope Slade-Sawyer will become the division’s director starting March 3.

Sawyer previously directed the disease prevention and health promotion office within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Wos announced the hiring at a health directors’ conference in Raleigh. She calls Slade-Sawyer a leader in setting the agenda for public health research.

Sawyer succeeds Dr. Laura Gerald, who resigned in July from dual roles as division director and state public health director. Sawyer will be division director only. The acting state health director for now remains Dr. Robin Cummings. State law requires the health director be a physician.

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