December 17, 2018
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health Quality of Care
Name:Charity Dean, M.D.
Public health physician Charity Dean, M.D., was recently named the 2018 Physician of the Year for Santa Barbara County by the Central Coast Medical Association.
The honor is for a physician who has worked to improve the quality of health care, contributed to the education of other physicians, and engaged in community service and other activities outside of medicine.
Kurt Ransohoff, M.D., presented the award at the CCMA annual dinner and shared stories of Dr. Dean, who is known by her colleagues for her compassion, work ethic, enthusiasm and dedication to public service.
“Dr. Charity Dean was accepted into five medical schools. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t get accepted into that many schools,” Dr. Ransohoff said. “Dr. Dean’s hard work is a true testament to where she is today and where she is heading.”
Dr. Dean was raised in rural Oregon. She earned her Doctor of Medicine along with her Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine from Tulane University in Louisiana. She moved to Santa Barbara to complete her residency at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in internal medicine.
Dr. Dean served as deputy public health officer (2011-14) and then as public health officer (2014 through 2018) at the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. Recently, she was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to serve as the assistant director of the California Department of Public Health.
Dr. Dean is passionate about public service and has dedicated her life’s work to public health. She also strongly believes that physicians must have a seat at the table when public health laws are written, drafted and passed. Dr. Dean was a vocal advocate for the California Medical Association-sponsored SB 277, which eliminated non-medical exemptions to school vaccination requirements. In the first year of implementation, vaccination rates among kindergarteners rose to levels not seen in a decade and a half. Kindergarten students receiving required vaccines rose from 93 percent in the 2015-16 school year to 96 percent in 2016-17.
Locally, Dr. Dean has been a vocal advocate during times of disaster for the Health Department, ensuring quality and care for all Santa Barbara County residents.
She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Gerald E Bruce Community Service Award from the Ford Family Foundation.
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