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Dr. Celeste Philip Appointed Deputy Secretary for Health and Deputy State Health Officer for Children's Medical Services

By Florida Department of Health, Office of Communications

October 31, 2013

October 31, 2013

Contact: Communications Office
(850) 245-4111


TALLAHASSEE—The Florida Department of Health (DOH) today announced Dr. Celeste Philip as the new Deputy Secretary for Health and Deputy State Health Officer for Children’s Medical Services (CMS). Dr. Philip has served as the Interim Deputy Secretary since June of this year.

“Dr. Philip is a proven leader in public health and strong advocate for medically fragile children,” said Dr. John Armstrong, State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health. “She is well-positioned to further our progress toward health equity and healthiest weight for all Floridians.”

Dr. Philip’s career has focused on public health research and serving local communities. She has previously served DOH as Assistant Director for Public Health in Volusia County and Interim Chief for the Bureau of Communicable Diseases. Dr. Philip was the Interim Director for DOH in Volusia, Calhoun and Liberty counties. In addition, she served as Medical Director for DOH in Polk County where she chaired the Polk Health Care Alliance Infrastructure Committee and served on the board of the Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine, through which she provided primary care to uninsured patients. She is a board member of the Early Learning Coalition of Flagler and Volusia and a steering committee member of the Department of Juvenile Justice Circuit 7 Disproportionate Minority Contact Initiative.

Nationally and internationally, Dr. Philip has made additional contributions to public health. She is a board member of the American Heart Association’s six-state Greater Southeast Affiliate (GSA) and the Chair of GSA’s Health Equities Committee. Dr. Philip served at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer where her research focused on sugar-sweetened beverages in schools, national breastfeeding and obesity trends and infant mortality in Mississippi. She also dedicated herself to maternal and child anemia projects in the Philippines and Niger, as well as a nutrition surveillance system in the Dominican Republic. Earlier in her career, Dr. Philip served as a Technical Information Specialist and Research Assistant at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

As Assistant Director for Public Health at DOH-Volusia, Dr. Philip helped oversee an environmental health project which engaged minority communities experiencing significant health inequities in a grassroots movement to address issues such as improved job opportunities and access to healthy foods. While serving in Polk County, Dr. Philip worked closely with the county planning department to revise the comprehensive plan to include healthy community design criteria which was recognized by the National Environmental Health Association.

Dr. Philip graduated from Howard University in Washington DC magna cum laude, with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Spanish. She later received a Master of Public Health in maternal and child health and a Doctor of Medicine from Loma Linda University in California. She completed her residency at Florida Hospital in Orlando and was a Preventive Medicine Resident with the CDC. Dr. Philip is Board Certified with the American Academy of Family Medicine and the American College of Preventive Medicine. In 2012, Dr. Philip participated in the White House Community Leaders Briefing for Cardiovascular Health. She was recognized in 2010 with the Outstanding Unit Citation from the U.S. Public Health Service for her role in the H1N1 flu response. Among numerous recognitions, Dr. Philip has received a Prudential—Davis Productivity Award, the Mac Kenzie Foundation Award and the Selma Andrews Award in Public Health.

DOH protects, promotes and improves the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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