Director of the Centers for Preparedness and Response
Dr. John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, FACOEM
Dr. John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, FACOEM is the director of the Center for Preparedness and Response (CPR). Dr. Dreyzehner is a highly respected national leader in the field of public health, with a career emphasis on preparedness and response, including serving as the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) Preparedness Policy Committee Chair, National Homeland Security Consortium Tri-Chair, and the NEMA-ASTHO-GHSAC Policy Committee Co-Chair. Dr. Dreyzehner recently served as the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health from 2011-2019, leading a team of over 3,500 individuals and a budget of over $600 million dollars. During his tenure, he led Tennessee’s preparedness and response to infectious disease outbreaks, including the national fungal meningitis outbreak, Ebola, Zika, and outbreaks of hepatitis A and C. He also led the public health preparedness and response activities to natural disasters including severe winter storms, tornados, flooding, and a major rural-to-urban wildfire in Gatlinburg and the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. His agency was the lead responder for local disasters and his response teams provided direct aid to other states. He has testified before the U.S. Congress as an expert on preparedness and response issues.
Prior to becoming Commissioner, Dr. Dreyzehner served as the District Director for the Cumberland Plateau Health District in the Appalachian region of Virginia from 2002-2011 where he also led numerous local and regional public health responses. He was among the first in the nation to describe the opioid crisis ravaging the region in the early 2000’s as a public health epidemic. His community-focused approach to that response led him to become a DATA-waived physician and to practice addiction medicine in a local non-profit community clinic. Dr. Dreyzehner also served as a Flight Surgeon in the United States Air Force practicing and directing primary care, outpatient services, public health and aeromedical programs while stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. Following his military service, he was residency trained and board certified in Occupational Medicine and established a new occupational health clinic for regional business and industry as the Director of Blue Ridge Occupational Health in Lebanon, Virginia.
Throughout his career Dr. Dreyzehner has consistently demonstrated emergency preparedness and response leadership. At the local level, he was especially instrumental in establishing a new public health emergency preparedness office and a local multi-state preparedness council that not only responded to emergencies, but also prepared the community and region for potential threats from naturally occurring and human-related sources. He has achieved substantial public health impact in each of his positions; his records of accomplishment and ability to develop and foster relationships with government and academia will allow him to provide dynamic, collaborative and visionary leadership for CPR.