Dr. George Gellert, who has a 30-year career in public health including the last year with San Benito County, has been appointed the county’s new health officer.
The San Benito County board of supervisors appointed Gellert to the position Sept. 28. He is replacing Interim Health Officer Dr. David Ghilarducci.
Gellert has served alongside Ghilarducci for about the last year as Deputy Health Officer. Together with Health and Human Services Agency Director Tracey Belton, Gellert and Ghilarducci have “led this county through the most challenging public health times in recent history with the Covid-19 pandemic,” says a press release from San Benito County.
“Over the last 10 months, it has been my privilege to serve as Deputy Health Officer in San Benito County. Over that time, I have been highly impressed with the public health excellence, skills and dedication of the Health and Human Services Agency leadership and the entire Public Health team,” Gellert said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the team and our many community partners to put the Covid-19 pandemic behind us as soon as possible. And then, to returning to the advancement of the most innovative and high impact disease prevention initiatives which our county very much needs to reduce the risk and incidence of deadly chronic diseases, avoidable injuries, preventable maternal and child health issues, substance abuse and other causes of suffering and ill health in our community.”
Gellert comes to San Benito County with extensive medical and public health experience, says the county press release. He is a physician executive and epidemiologist and has worked in population/public health for more than 30 years.
He first worked in local public health as a communicable disease control epidemiologist with the Los Angeles County Department of Health, and then as Deputy Health Officer/County Epidemiologist with the Orange County Health Care Agency.
As the power of health information technologies to impact population/public health outcomes emerged, Gellert sought to engage these and served in leadership roles in the industry with initiatives such as WebMD and HCORP. He also worked in non-profit international health at Project HOPE, and with the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, where he built an interagency coalition to address the epidemic of cancer in low-income nations, according to county staff.
Gellert served as the Chief Medical Information Officer of CHRISTUS Health, one of the nation’s largest non-profit hospital systems, focusing on the adoption of the electronic health record by its 15,000 physicians in advancing the practice of evidence-based medicine to improve patient care outcomes and reduce medical errors.
Gellert has delivered more than 250 presentations at national and international public health and health information technology conferences. He is a scientific peer reviewer for 22 leading public health and biomedical journals and has more than 150 public health journal and book publications.
He is a graduate of McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine (MD), Yale University’s School of Public Health (MPH), the UCLA School of Public Health Preventive Medicine Program (FABPM), and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government (MPA).
“Dr. Gellert is an experienced physician who brings to San Benito County a record of integrity and wisdom coupled with a commitment to community,” Belton said. “We are fortunate to have him as our Health Officer.”