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For Immediate Release
For more information, please contact APHA Communications at 202-777-2509 or email us .

Former APHA President, Two APHA Members Assume Leadership Roles at the CDC

Degutis to Lead National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; Portier Selected as Director of National Center for Environmental Health' Khan to Direct Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response

Washington, D.C., July 21, 2010 – The American Public Health Association is pleased by the appointment of Linda Degutis, DrPH, MSN, a former APHA president and board chair, as director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Additionally, Christopher J. Portier, Ph.D., and Rear Admiral Ali Khan, M.D., M.P.H., both APHA members, will assume director positions at the National Center for Environmental Health Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response respectively.

In this critical role, Degutis will be charged with fostering collaborative research and educational outreach efforts and programs in the area of injury and violence prevention, which accounts for more than 170,000 deaths every year.

“Dr. Degutis has displayed a lifelong commitment to making injury and violence prevention a leading public health priority in this country,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of APHA. “We are all extremely grateful for the life-saving work Dr. Degutis has done to help all Americans live healthier, safer and more productive lives, and expect that she’ll have many achievements in her new role.”

Degutis holds an undergraduate degree from DePaul University, and an MSN and DrPH from Yale. She was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow, working in the office of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.).

Portier previously served as senior advisor to the director and Principal Investigator for Environmental Systems Biology at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). He is a Fellow of the International Statistics Institute, the World Innovation Foundation, and the American Statistical Association.

“Dr. Portier will bring a breadth of experience unmatched in the area of environmental health, which will be a tremendous asset for CDC and its ongoing efforts to build healthier communities,” said Benjamin.

Portier is a recent recipient of the Spiegelman Award, a prestigious award bestowed by the American Public Health Association for outstanding accomplishments in public health.

Khan, an assistant surgeon general, has been with the CDC for nearly 20 years working on a wide array of health issues including health security, global health, and emerging infectious diseases.

“With Dr. Khan leading the charge for public health preparedness and response issues, I am confident the CDC will be in good hands and that the public will be better protected from the next health outbreak or emergency,” said Benjamin.

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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest, largest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at