Local MD leading new health council

COVINGTON — Dr. Henry M. Patton of Covington has been elected chairman of the newly formed Advisory Council for Public Health serving the Georgia Department of Community Health.

The council was created in response to House Bill 228, which transferred all matters relating to public health from the Department of Human Resources to the Department of Community Health.

The council is responsible for providing assistance and guidance to the Division of Public Health and DCH on all matters regarding public health programs, including health promotion and disease prevention; maternal and child health; infectious disease and immunizations; environmental health; epidemiology; state laboratory programs; and vital records.

"We will advise the Department of Community Health on issues about public health and any matters they have questions about," Patton said.

Patton was appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue and elected by his fellow council members as chairman. He will serve a three-year term.

Patton said the governor asked him to serve on the council due to his experience as chairman of the Newton County Board of Health, a position he will continue to hold, and as a member of the Georgia Board of Human Resources.

"I'm just glad to help out the community," he said.

Patton will be meeting with Dr. Rony Francois, the newly appointed director of the Division of Public Health, as well as the rest of the council, in the coming weeks.

Patton is president of Newton Medical Associates. He is an attending physician at Newton Medical Center, clinical associate professor of medicine for the Medical College of Georgia and an instructor of advanced cardiac life support for the American Heart Association.

He is a member of the East-Metro Medical Society, the Medical Association of Georgia and a fellow of the American College of Physicians. He has served as chairman of the Newton County Board of Health since 1986 and served on the Georgia Board of Human Resources from 2005 until July 2009.

Patton is secretary for Georgia Chapter American College of Physicians where he serves on the governor's advisory council. Patton earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Georgia and a master's degree and medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia. He and his wife Victoria have four children and four grandchildren.