Local News

New state health director named

Posted February 24, 2009 3:37 p.m. EST
Updated February 24, 2009 5:57 p.m. EST

— Dr. Jeffery Engel, the state epidemiologist for the last seven years, was named Tuesday as state health director.

Engel succeeds Dr. Leah Devlin, who retired in January.

"North Carolina has long been considered a national leader in its proactive approaches to public health issues. Dr. Engel will continue to build upon the strong and enduring foundations built by his immediate predecessors – Dr. Leah Devlin and Dr. Ron Levine – as he guides the state’s public health efforts in the years to come," Secretary of Health and Human Services Lanier Cansler said in a statement.

"North Carolina has an ambitious public health agenda before it. We face tough economic times. It is in times such as these that we must be most vigilant to maintain our successes and find new strategies to make us a healthier state," Engel said in the statement. "It will be our job to ensure that public health is a top priority because, regardless of your wealth or circumstances, health is critical to a person’s quality of life."

Before joining DHHS in 2002, Engel was a professor of medicine at East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine. He has undergraduate and medical degrees from Johns Hopkins University.