Former Florida surgeon general expected to be next Sonoma County health officer

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The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday is expected to approve the hiring of Florida’s former surgeon general as the county’s health officer.

Dr. Celeste Philip, who also served as secretary of health for the Florida Department of Health, was recommended by county health officials following a national recruitment.

Philip’s annual salary here would be $221,380 a year, Sonoma County health services director Barbie Robinson said Monday. Philip would replace former health officer Karen Milman, who resigned from her post about a year ago.

In her new job, Philip would lead the development and implementation of health policies aimed at improving community health in Sonoma County. She’ll work with local nonprofit organizations on efforts such as nutrition, water and environmental quality and dental health for children and adults.

According to her biography, Philip has more than two decades of experience working as a medical and public health professional, including 10 years at the Florida health department.

As state surgeon general and secretary of health for nearly three years, Philip was in charge of more than 13,000 employees and a $3 billion budget. In the staff report to supervisors, local health officials said Philip had extensive “knowledge of disease surveillance and health promotion.”

She led Florida’s response to the Zika virus outbreak several years ago, oversaw the state health department response to hurricanes Irma and Michael and paved a legislative path, with funding, for emerging HIV prevention strategies, according to the staff report.

Philip, who is board-certified in preventive and family medicine, holds a doctorate of medicine degree from Loma Linda University School of Medicine and a master’s degree in public health from Loma Linda University School of Public Health. If approved, she officially begins work April 9.

You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 707-521-5213 or On Twitter @pressreno.

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