Baltimore mayor names city's next health commissioner

Published 02-20-2019

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Baltimore's mayor has named an African American pediatrician as the city's next health commissioner.

Dr. Letitia Dzirasa will take over the role next month, overseeing a department with some 800 employees and a $150 million annual budget.

Dzirasa earned a doctorate of medicine from Meharry Medical College in Tennessee. She did her residency at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She most recently worked as a "health innovation officer" at a Baltimore-based software company she founded with her husband.

She succeeds Dr. Leana Wen, a public health star who left Baltimore last year to lead Planned Parenthood.

Wen issued an innovative blanket prescription for a life-saving overdose drug and expanded trauma and mental health services. With Wen's encouragement, Baltimore successfully sued the Trump administration for cutting funds for teen pregnancy prevention.

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