On today's Midday Healthwatch, Tom's guest is Baltimore City’s new Health Commissioner, Dr. Letitia Dzirasa. She was named to the position in February by then-Mayor Catherine Pugh. She began serving in March and was officially sworn in on April 16. She succeeds Dr. Leana Wen, who resigned last fall to become the president of Planned Parenthood.
Dr. Dzirasa (pron. jih-RAH-zuh) is the first African American woman to be appointed as Baltimore’s Top Doc. Baltimore has the nation’s oldest continuously operating health department, a high-profile city agency with an annual budget of 150 million dollars and more than 800 employees. Dr. Dzirasa is a pediatrician who trained at the John Hopkins Medical School. She has worked in the private sector as the Health Innovation officer at Fearless Solutions, the Baltimore-based digital services company she co-founded with her husband Dilali. From 2013-2016, she was the director of school-based health services at Baltimore Medical System, a non-profit community health services organization.
Dr. Dzirasa is 37 years old. She lives in Baltimore with her husband, their 2 year-old son and her 17 year-old stepson.
This conversation was live-streamed on WYPR’s Facebook page; you can see the video here.