SAVANNAH — Diane Z. Weems, M.D., who has served as health director of the Coastal Health District forthree years, retired at the end of last month.
Lawton C. Davis, M.D., the health director of the South Central Health District, was been named as her successor.
A board-certified pediatrician, Weems began her public health career at the Lowndes County Health Department in 1986 and moved to the Chatham County department in 1987 as a staff physician. In 1993, Weems became the chief medical officer for the health district and served in that position until being appointed director in February 2013.
She served as a governor’s appointee and vice chairwoman of the Public Health Commission in 2010. Its report was instrumental in supporting the establishment of an independent Georgia Department of Public Health.
Weems’ awards include the 2011 Georgia Public Health Association’s Sellers-McCroan Award and the Al Dohany Award for community service.
Davis has served as South Central director for 18 years. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Furman University and a medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia. He practiced internal medicine for 13 years and worked full time as an emergency room physician for two years in Dublin before joining public health as the district health director in January 1998.
Davis has served as the chairman of the state’s technical review committee (onsite sewage disposal) since its creation in July 1999.
"Dr. Weems has made significant and lasting contributions during her 30 years of service to public health," Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. said. "She has served as a dedicated public health ambassador on local, regional, and state levels and is truly representative of what is good about public health leadership in Georgia.
"Dr. Davis brings a wealth of public health experience and his own unique perspective and leadership style to the Coastal Health District. I am confident that under his guidance the district will continue to be proactive in preventing disease and promoting good health among its residents."