North Georgia Health District Welcomes Interim Director

Dr. John "Jack" Kennedy, Interim Health Director, North Georgia Health DistrictDalton (GA) Staff of the North Georgia Health District welcome John “Jack” Kennedy, M.D., M.B.A., as the district’s interim health director. 


Dr. Harold Pitts recently resigned as district health director after having served in that position since 2005. Dr. Kennedy is the director of the Cobb & Douglas Public Health District and will concurrently provide interim leadership of the North Georgia Health District until a permanent health director is named.


“I am excited about getting to know everyone so we can pursue our public health mission together,” said Kennedy. “I appreciate the warm welcome I have received here.”


Born in Providence, RI and reared in Richmond, VA, Kennedy practiced general surgery in the United States Air Force and, subsequently, in Marietta for 26 years where he also served as the founding board chairman of the Good Samaritan Health Center of Cobb. Presently, in addition to directing the Cobb & Douglas Public Health District, Kennedy serves as an Affiliated Professor in the Office of Applied Public Health at Rollins School of Public Health, part of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University.


Kennedy is a graduate of Duke University where he received both his Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry and his M.D. degree. He received an M.B.A. from the Michael Coles School of Business at Kennesaw State University. Kennedy completed his surgical internship and surgical residency at Emory University Affiliated Hospitals.


He and his wife, Maurine, have lived in Marietta since 1986 and have two adult children.


The North Georgia Health District, part of the Georgia Department of Public Health, is based in Dalton and includes Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties. For more information, call (706) 272-2342.

Whitfield County's Medbank Celebrates 10 Years of Service

The North Georgia Health District has announced that Medbank is celebrating its 10th year in Whitfield County! Whitfield County's Medbank is a prescription drug assistance program Pictured from left to right are Rep. Bruce Broadrick, volunteer pharmacist; Susan Relaford, director; Betty Stinson, 10-year volunteer; and Tracy Marshall, program assistant.currently operating under the Whitfield County Health Department. Since opening its doors locally in May 2003, Medbank has collaborated with over 140 area doctors in assisting more than 4,000 eligible Whitfield County residents receive nearly 32 million dollars in essential prescription medications. Medbank is located at 420 Hamilton Street in Dalton and the phone number is (706) 281-2363. For more information, please link directly to Medbank's page here at

Gilmer Puppy Euthanized after Rabies Exposure

Rabies VirusEllijay (GA) - A six-month old, mixed breed puppy has been euthanized after a rabid raccoon attacked it at a residence on Roy Road in east Gilmer County. The incident occurred about ten miles from the Fannin County line.

No human exposure to the virus occurred.

According to Gilmer County Environmental Health Manager Andrea Martin, the puppy was attacked by the raccoon on the evening of May 8 while the dog sat on the front porch of its owner’s home. The owner shot the raccoon. It was then prepared for rabies testing by VCA Appalachian Animal Hospital.

Martin shipped the specimen to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory on May 9, and the raccoon was reported as positive for rabies on May 10.

The puppy had received its first rabies vaccination on April 20, however, the initial shot takes 28 days to become fully protective; therefore, the dog was considered to be unvaccinated. The owner chose to have the dog euthanized instead of placing it under a six-month quarantine, due to the severity of the dog’s injuries and level of exposure.

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Environmental Health - The Unseen Public Health Professionals

Recently, thousands of passengers aboard a pleasure cruise ship were sickened with a stomach virus transmitted through their foods. While not all such outbreaks can be stopped, there is a public health professional dedicated to protecting you and your family from these and many other types of diseases.

As Earth Day approaches on April 22, the North Georgia Health District and health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties celebrate the positive impact environmental health specialists have on our daily lives.

What if no one inspected the restaurants where your family dines? Or, imagine if no one inspected and sampled the pool where your children swim. Where would you go with a complaint about an environmental health or safety hazard? What if your child was found to have elevated levels of lead? Who makes sure your septic system is properly sized and installed? These are only some of the services provided by your local public health environmental specialists. They are part of your county health department but are the unseen professionals making your world a healthier and safer place to live and work. Their primary task is to prevent diseases and conditions that could affect your health and ensure a safe and healthy environment through education, policy development, and regulation.

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