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Celeste Philip, MD, MPH


Professor of Public Health Practice, Meharry School of Global Health


Celeste Philip, MD, MPH, is a physician leader with two decades of public health and
medical experience in local, state, federal, and international settings. She is President
and CEO of Unboxable Health Consulting LLC with clients that include the American
Public Health Association. Dr. Philip who is double board-certified in Public Health and
General Preventive Medicine and in Family Medicine recently served as the Deputy
Director for Non-infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) for three years and as acting director for CDC’s Center for State, Tribal, Local
and Territorial Support (CSTLTS). During her tenure at CDC, she deployed to CDC’s
COVID-19 response several times, and created a model to operationalize data
modernization efforts across the four national centers under her leadership that
ultimately was utilized across the agency due to its success.

Just prior to joining CDC, Dr. Philip served as Health Officer for Sonoma County,
California during a period of unprecedented response efforts, including the 2019
Kincade Fire, provision of health services for several hundred unhoused people, and
identification of the first cases of COVID-19 in the county.

Previously, Dr. Philip spent 10 years with the Florida Department of Health (department)
serving in numerous local and state capacities before being appointed by the Florida
Governor to serve as Florida’s Surgeon General and Secretary of Health from
2016-2018. As chief executive of the department, she was responsible for over 13,000
full time employees and a $3 billion annual budget. Dr. Philip led the state’s efforts to
identify and eliminate local spread of Zika virus in South Florida and oversaw the state’s
public health and medical efforts during several hurricanes, including Irma and Michael.
Under her direction, every county health department in Florida began providing preexposure
prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV transmission. Through her leadership, the
department was awarded a grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation and collaborated
with Trust for America’s Health and other partners to create a novel public health
framework to support healthy aging in communities; this led to the state becoming the
largest state to be designated as Age-Friendly by AARP in April 2019.

Dr. Philip received bachelor’s degrees from Howard University in Washington, DC, and
both a Master of Public Health in maternal & child health and a Doctor of Medicine from
Loma Linda University. She completed family medicine residency at Advent Health in
Orlando and trained at CDC as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer and preventive
medicine resident while a commissioned officer of the US Public Health Service.