Charity Dean headshot

Charity Dean

Charity Dean MD, MPH&TM is the CEO and Co-Founder of The Public Health Company which brings together the best expertise in public health disease control with private sector tech innovation to build autonomous disease control decision capabilities in scalable software. Prior to this, she was the Assistant Director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and part of the executive leadership team directing California’s strategy and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Dean served as Co-Chair of the California Testing Task Force which successfully executed a strategy to rapidly scale up COVID-19 testing and exceeded the Governor’s goal of 60,000 diagnostic tests per day, reaching over 100,000 tests per day in under 12 weeks. In her role with CDPH, Dr. Dean provided strategic direction and oversight for the Center for Health Care Quality and led public health and healthcare policy development and implementation to benefit all Californians.

In 2019 Dr. Dean served as Acting State Public Health Officer and led the State response to the vaping-associated outbreak (EVALI), bioterrorism incidents, and communicable disease outbreaks.

Dr. Dean is the subject of best-selling author, Michael Lewis‘s newest book, The Premonition: A Pandemic Story. The story follows three central characters — a biochemist, a public health worker, and a federal government employee who worked in the White House — as they confront the pandemic and find that the response from the United States government was woefully inadequate. Dr. Dean put her career on the line as she tried to avert catastrophe.

Prior to joining CDPH, Dr. Dean served as Health Officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department where she directed communicable disease outbreak response, public health disaster response, and served as an attending physician overseeing tuberculosis clinic, HIV medicine, homeless medicine, and primary care. She has held statewide leadership roles including the Central Coast Medical Association, California Medical Association, and California Conference of Local Health Officers.

Dr. Dean received the Physician of the Year award from the Central Coast Medical Association in 2018 and Women of the Year recognition from Senator Jackson and Assemblywoman Limon in 2018. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Gerald E Bruce Community Service Award from the Ford Family Foundation and the 2018 Physician of the Year for Santa Barbara County by the Central Coast Medical Association.

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.

Dr. Dean earned a B.S. in Microbiology from Oregon State University and a Doctor of Medicine degree from Tulane University School of Medicine, where she simultaneously earned a Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine degree from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

Get Involved

Subscribe to get updates about the work of COVID Collaborative.

If you are looking for safe ways to serve during this time, we recommend visiting the All for Good Volunteer Hub, created by Points of Light: