Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, the health innovation officer at Baltimore tech firm Fearless and a physician, will be the next Baltimore City health commissioner, Mayor Catherine Pugh’s office announced on Wednesday.
Dzirasa’s first day will be March 11. In the position, she will oversee the public health agency, which is considered the oldest continuously running health department in the U.S.
“I’ve known I wanted to be a doctor since I was 5 years old,” Dzirasa said in a statement. “I’ve always wanted to help people, specifically those who are under-resourced and need the most support. So I chose a career path that allowed me to combine my love of science, health, and wellness with my calling to serve others.”
Dzirasa served in the top health role at Fearless since 2016, as the Spark Baltimore-based dev agency expanded in health IT with a total of five contracts such as work on the Woodlawn-based Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Blue Button 2.0. Fearless also worked with the city health department to create a dashboard to track public health data.
Prior to joining Fearless, she worked at Baltimore Medical Center, a federally qualified health center that serves 45,000 patients a year, in roles including medical director for school-based health and medical director of quality. She also served as a general pediatrician at Johns Hopkins Community Physicians in Odenton.
A graduate of UMBC, Dzirasa earned her doctorate at Meharry Medical College, and went on to become a resident at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Harriet Lane Clinic.
“We are fortunate to have attracted a candidate of Dr. Dzirasa’s caliber and broad experience to advance our agenda to improve the health prospects of all Baltimore residents,” Pugh said in a statement. “She will bring a commitment to reducing youth violence through evidence-based approaches, as well working to eliminate health disparities that persist, even while building on our progress to address the opioid epidemic and further improve access to critical care.”
The position of city health commissioner was last held by Dr. Leana Wen, who was appointed as president of Planned Parenthood last year.
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