Dr. Lawton C. Davis, the current health director of the South Central Health District, has been named to replace Dr. Diane Z. Weems, who announced she will retire as director of the Coastal Health District at the end of the month.
“Dr. Weems has made significant and lasting contributions during her 30 years of service to public health. She has served as a dedicated public health ambassador on local, regional, and state levels and is truly representative of what is good about public health leadership in Georgia,” said
Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Dr. Davis brings a wealth of public health experience and his own unique perspective and leadership style to the Coastal Health District. I am confident that under his guidance the district will continue to be proactive in preventing disease and promoting good health among its residents.”
A board-certified pediatrician, Weems began her public health career at the Lowndes County Health Department in 1986 and relocated to the Chatham County Health Department in 1987 as a staff physician. In 1993, Weems became the chief medical officer for the health district and served in that position until appointed district health director in February 2013. She was instrumental in the formation of the Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council and has served on numerous community boards. In addition, she served as a governor’s appointee and vice-chair of the Public Health Commission in 2010 whose report was instrumental in supporting the establishment of an independent Georgia Department of Public Health.
Weems is the recipient of numerous professional awards including the 2011 Georgia Public Health Association’s Sellers-McCroan Award and the Al Dohany Award for community service.
Davis has served as health director in the South Central Health District for the past 18 years. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Furman University and a medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia. He practiced internal medicine for 13 years and worked full time as an emergency room physician for two years in Dublin before joining public health as the district health director in January 1998. Davis has served as the chair of the state’s technical review committee (onsite sewage disposal) since its creation in July 1999.
He has served on the boards of multiple organizations and is a proponent of strengthening public health’s community presence through community activity.
Davis and his wife, Diane, have three grown children.