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Ford Ascends to President-Elect of the National Association of County and City Health Officials’ Board of Directors

WASHINGTON, DC The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has elected Sandra Elizabeth Ford, MD, MBA, District Health Director and Chief Executive Officer of the DeKalb County Board of Health to its 2020-2021 Board of Directors as its new President-Elect. NACCHO is the voice of the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments. As Board president-elect, Dr. Ford will serve on the Board of Directors’ Executive Committee as president-elect in 2020-2021 before assuming the positions of president in 2021-2022 and immediate past president in 2022-2023, respectively.  Dr. Ford began her first term as an officer on July 1, 2019.

“Dr. Ford has been a long-standing volunteer leader within NACCHO, and has contributed significant amounts of time, energy, and expertise to the organization. I congratulate Dr. Ford on assuming her new role as President-Elect of NACCHO and look forward to her ongoing leadership,” said NACCHO’s CEO Lori Tremmel Freeman, MBA.

Said Dr. Ford, “In this challenging time we currently find ourselves in, is it an honor to be serving as president-elect of the only organization exclusively focused on advocating for public health at the local level. Now more than ever, it is important that the value of our work be understood and acknowledged, and I’m very excited to continue to highlight the work of local health departments.”

About Dr. Ford

A board-certified pediatrician, Dr. Ford has served as the District Health Director and Chief Executive Officer of the DeKalb County Board of Health since February 2005. She manages a diverse array of public health programs that serve over 730,000 people who live in the county, with is part of the metro Atlanta area.

Under Dr. Ford’s leadership, the DeKalb County Board of Health has successfully applied for more than $15 million in federal funds to address health disparities, including $5.6 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to promote smoke-free environments, physical fitness and improved nutrition. More recently the agency received a Minority Youth Violence Prevention: Integrating Public Health and Community Policing Approaches grant from DHHS and the U.S. Department of Justice aimed at curbing violence and improving the health and well-being of underserved and distressed communities. The agency also recently received a Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Ford was asked to serve as the Acting Director of the Georgia Department of Community Health’s Division of Public Health during the agency’s reorganization in 2008, where she helped to develop statewide policies and legislation and enforce public health laws and regulations. Dr. Ford received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Stanford University, a medical degree from Howard University’s College of Medicine and a master’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Health Services Administration from Howard University’s Graduate School of Business.  She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Ford has been a member of NACCHO since 2006 and has served on the Membership Committee for many years, first as a member and currently as its Chair.  In 2017, she was elected as an at-large member of NACCHO’s Board of Directors.

About NACCHO’s Board of Directors

NACCHO is governed by a 22-member board comprising local and tribal health officials who are elected by their peers. The Board also includes ex-officio members representing the National Association of Counties and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

As the governing body, NACCHO’s Board of Directors establishes the association’s strategic direction and initiatives, sets the annual legislative agenda, approves official policy statements, ensures that annual goals are met, and provides financial oversight. The Board is NACCHO’s public face, and represents members in matters of policy, public health practice, and collaboration with health partners in the public and private sectors.

NACCHO’s Board is led by four executive officers. In addition to Dr. Ford, this includes:

  • President, Jennifer C. Kertanis, Director of Health, Farmington Valley Health District, CT
  • Vice President, Lisa Macon Harrison, Local Health Director, Granville Vance Public Health, NC
  • Past President, George T. Roberts, Jr., MHA, FACHE; CEO, Northeast Texas Public Health District, TX

About the DeKalb County Board of Health

Celebrating its 95th year of service to Georgia’s fourth most populous county, the DeKalb County Board of Health works to protect and improve the health of those who live, work and play in DeKalb County. With five health centers throughout the county, the Board of Health continually strives to meet the changing needs of the county’s diverse population through excellence in programs and services.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. For more information about NACCHO, please visit