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Scott Removes 'Interim' Tag From Surgeon General

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Celeste Philip

Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday named Celeste Philip as surgeon general and secretary of the Florida Department of Health, a little more than two months after Philip became interim head of the agency.

In making the announcement, Scott said Philip has gone on a statewide tour this spring to meet with community health officials and has addressed issues such as the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

“Dr. Philip has … been working diligently with county health departments and local mosquito control districts to ensure our state is ready to combat the possible spread of the Zika virus,” Scott said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Philip and DOH to protect public health in Florida.”

Philip was appointed on an interim basis in March after the Senate rejected the confirmation of former Surgeon General John Armstrong. The surgeon general doubles as secretary of the Department of Health.

Philip, a physician with specialties in family medicine, preventive medicine and public health, has held a series of positions at the Department of Health since 2008. In a statement released by the governor's office Wednesday, Philip said she was "honored" by the appointment.

"With our state and local partners, we will maintain our commitment to addressing community health needs, developing HIV reduction and prevention strategies and preparing our state to combat viruses like Zika,'' she said.