PHILADELPHIA—The Parker Administration announced that Dr. Cheryl Bettigole has decided to step down from her role as Health Commissioner, effective February 15, 2024. The Administration also announced that Deputy Health Commissioner Frank A. Franklin, PhD, JD, MPH will assume the role of Interim Health Commissioner while a nationwide search for a new Health Commissioner takes place. An announcement regarding the appointment of a Chief Medical Officer for the Health Department will be forthcoming.

“Dr. Bettigole has served our City and citizens well as Health Commissioner, and we thank her for all her public service to Philadelphia,” said Mayor Cherelle L. Parker. “The Health Department performs vital services for our residents, from primary care to vaccinations to alerting Philadelphia when communicable diseases are spreading, among many services, and we embrace its mission. We’re gratified that Dr. Frank Franklin has agreed to serve as Interim Health Commissioner, and look forward to his continuing leadership on such issues as substance use prevention and harm reduction, and to working with him and the Department broadly to protect Philadelphians’ health.”

“The City of Philadelphia owes Dr. Bettigole a debt of gratitude for her work in directing the Health Department through deeply troubling times, including the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Managing Director Adam Thiel. “She has worked diligently to improve health in our city, centering equity in all of her decisions, and expanding access to services. I wish her the very best of luck in her future endeavors and thank her for her service.”

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as health commissioner for the past 3 years,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. “I am immensely proud of the work that has taken place in the Health Department and am profoundly grateful for the professionalism, expertise, and dedication found within the employees who I was fortunate to serve with.”

Dr. Franklin has served as Deputy Health Commissioner for the last three years. He received his doctoral training at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. He earned a master’s in public health and completed post-doctoral training in health policy from the Morehouse School of Medicine. Dr. Franklin also holds a Juris Doctor from the Kline School of Law at Drexel University. He is a former member of the National Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Center for Injury Control and Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Previously, Dr. Franklin served as the Director of Epidemiology, Analytics and Evaluation Division at the Multnomah County Health Department.

Dr. Bettigole was named Acting Health Commissioner in May 2021 and appointed permanent Health Commissioner in November of that year. In her time as Health Commissioner, Dr. Bettigole oversaw the development of a five-year strategic plan focused on, among other things, centering equity in Health Department work, improving access to primary care, and preparing for future public health emergencies. Dr. Bettigole led the department’s efforts to respond to multiple mass displaced person events, including Afghan and Ukrainian evacuees and migrants bussed from the southern border, collaborating with local, state, and federal partners to create new models of care for migrant populations. The Health Department also renewed its accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board and Project Public Health Ready under her direction.

Dr. Franklin’s headshot and a brief biographical sketch is available on the Health Department’s Staff webpage.