Deanna Wathington


Deanna Wathington headshotDeanna J. Wathington brings over 25 years of practice and academic experience in the field with emphasis on collaboration across multiple sectors to address and optimize community health. She currently serves as clinical director at REACHUP, Inc. and as an affiliate professor in the College of Public Health (University of South Florida). She previously served as dean of the College of Health Sciences (Bethune-Cookman University), associate dean for Academic and Student Affairs (USF College of Public Health), associate dean for Academic Enrichment (USF College of Medicine) and as the director of the Office of Minority Health (Florida Department of Health).

Dr. Wathington has served on a number of national/regional committees and currently serves on the Council on Education for Public Health and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety as an APHA representative. She also serves on the ASPPH Workforce Advisory Committee and as executive director of the Consortium of African American Public Health Programs. Previous service includes the National Partnership for Women and Families Listening to Mothers Advisory Group, the National Academies (Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine) Committee on Progress toward Human Health and Community Resilience in the Gulf of Mexico Region, the US Department of Health and Human Services NPA Region IV Southeastern Health Equity Council, and as chair of the executive board of the American Public Health Association. Dr. Wathington earned her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – New Jersey Medical School (now known as Rutgers University – New Jersey Medical School), Master of Public Health from Temple University, and baccalaureate in Zoology and Physiology from Rutgers University. She completed residency training in Family Medicine at JFK Medical Center, NJ and Bayfront Medical Center, FL. She was awarded the distinction of Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Dr. Wathington’s work and scholarly efforts have centered on health equity, clinical-community linkages, maternal and child health, equitable community development, community health initiatives, and expanding diversity within the health professions. She is co-editor of Black Women in Public Health: Strategies to Name, Locate, and Change Systems of Power published by SUNY Press in February 2022. Dr. Wathington was the recipient of the DHPE Health Promotion and Advocacy award and the Florida Outstanding Woman in Public Health award.

Candidate Statement

As a proud and active member of the American Public Health Association, it is truly an honor to be on the 2023 slate for President-Elect of APHA. I am excited and humbled to have the opportunity to serve the association in a leadership capacity while utilizing my years of experience within APHA and my practice/academic experience from the field. Within APHA, I served on the Executive Board from 2017-2021, then served as vice chair in 2020 and chair in 2021. I have been a long time member of the Black Caucus of Health Workers and previously served on their Board. I belong to the Community Health Planning and Policy Development section as well as the Aging and Public Health section. I am an active member of my affiliate, the Florida Public Health Association.

Previously, I was a member, and elected governing councilor, of the Academic and Practice Linkages Caucus. I have also been a member of the Medical Care and Community Health Worker sections. More recently, I served as a co-organizer of a caucus collaborative session highlighting the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and LGBTQ2+ community. In addition, I also currently serve as a representative of APHA on the Council on Education for Public Health and the board of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

This opportunity to serve as President-Elect means so much because I believe that APHA is more than just a professional association of individuals representing the fields and disciplines of public health. To me APHA offers a community, a family, who are resolutely addressing the public health challenges of this nation and world. We will always have important work to do, however the current atmosphere demands more from us. Let us answer those demands (as we always do) with compassion, science, advocacy, and action. 

View Deanna Wathington's CV (PDF)

Response to Written Questions to Candidates (PDF)