Jean O'Connor

Public Health Policy Professional in Atlanta, Georgia

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Jean O'Connor, JD, MPH, DrPH has 18 years of experience in public health policy, strategy, operations, and research. She is the Chronic Disease Prevention Director for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) where she is responsible for statewide programs and grants related to chronic disease prevention. She works with health systems, communities, and local health departments to prevent and control chronic conditions and the risk factors that contribute to 7 out of 10 deaths, including tobacco, nutrition, physical activity, access to preventive care, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Her role includes serving as the Principal Investigator on nearly $20 million dollars in federal grants and cooperative agreements related to public health. Her passion is developing and evaluating policies and programs that promote health, public health preparedness, and prevention of non-communicable diseases. She started out as Emergency Medical Technician and doing research in the Emergency Department at Grady Hospital. That experience taught her firsthand about the role of policy, systems and environments on health outcomes, and she pursued her JD and MPH at Emory University, and then her DrPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before joining DPH in 2013, Dr. Jean O'Connor served as a health insurance policy advisor for a Georgia governor; a Health Scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) working on policy and strategy issues, including in preparedness and response and surveillance policy; and a Deputy State Health Director managing a 700 person health department. For the past 13 years, Dr. Jean O'Connor has taught public health law and policy at the Rollins School of Public Health. She has published and presented widely. She is a member the Georgia and Oregon Bar and she serves on the Board of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors as well as the Board of Directors of Public Health Foundation Enterprises.

  • Education
    • Emory University
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill