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Meet the director

Dr. Sonia Y. Angell, California Department of Public Health Director and State Health Officer

Sonia Angell, MD, MPH is the State Public Health Officer and CDPH Director, a position she assumed in October 2019.

Dr. Angell is a former deputy commissioner for prevention and primary care at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, from 2014 to 2019. Overseeing a staff of more than 300 and an annual budget exceeding $50 million, her division implemented cutting-edge policy and programming, integrating the strengths of public health and clinical care systems in their work. Division initiatives included a diverse portfolio from electronic health record implementation and clinical quality care improvement, to Medicaid enrollment assistance and advocacy for overcoming barriers to health care access. They introduced innovative nutrition and tobacco control policy development.

Prior to that role, she was a senior advisor for global noncommunicable diseases, and chief and founder of the Global Noncommunicable Disease Unit at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2011 to 2014, where she provided strategic coordination for global noncommunicable disease work across the Agency’s centers. She continued her work in global health as a consultant to the Pan American Health Organization since 2017.

Dr. Angell was founding director of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Control Program at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from 2004 to 2011. Key accomplishments included restricting trans-fat use in New York City restaurants, launching the National Salt Reduction Initiative, getting calorie counts on menu boards in chain restaurants, and establishing nutrition standards for the 250 million meals and snacks City government agencies purchase or serve every year.

Throughout her public health career, Dr. Angell has continued her commitment to direct clinical care and teaching. She was a primary care physician at the Packard Community Clinic from 2003 to 2004. While at the New York City Health Department until joining the California Department of Public Health, she was also an assistant clinical professor of medicine and assistant attending physician at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Hospital. 

Dr. Angell is the author or co-author of more than 100 presentations, abstracts, chapters, editorials and publications.

Before her career in medicine and public health, she was lead field organizer and trade policy coordinator for the Federation for Industrial Retention and Renewal from 1991 to 1993, a support services coordinator and instructor for the National Puerto Rican Forum Inc. in 1991, From 1988 to 1990 she served as a Peace Corps teacher and trainer volunteer in Nepal.

Dr. Angell is board certified in internal medicine. She received her medical degree from the University of California San Francisco, and completed Internal Medicine residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She has a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan. She is a former Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar. Dr. Angell is a Fellow of the second class of the Aspen Institute Health Innovators Program.


photo of Dr Angell

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