Coastal Health District appoints first Black director

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 6:37 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Dr. Bonzo Reddick is making history as the first director of color of the Coastal Health District.

As a Savannah native, Dr. Reddick is pretty familiar with the Savannah area.

“I actually got my childhood immunizations through the department of public health as a kid,” Dr. Reddick said.

He’s replacing Dr. Lawton Davis who retired in November after being in the position for about 6 years.

Reddick started his career at Morehouse School of Medicine and later became a physician. It was years later when he discovered another passion, addressing health on a much larger level.

For the past 5 years, Dr. Reddick led an outpatient practice at the J.C. Lewis Primary Health Care Center in Savannah, a federally qualified health center and designated Healthcare for the Homeless site.

While on the district’s Health Equity Council, Dr. Reddick worked with Savannah Chatham Public School system and Savannah mayor’s office during the height of the COVID 19 pandemic.

“What really started getting my attention was how do you find out how to vaccinate thousands of people at a time and that kind of thing. And other project I worked on with DPH like our HIV screening project where we were screening about 15,000 people a year. That’s the thing that really started getting me excited and got my attention,” Dr. Reddick said.

Now as the director of the Coastal Health District, Dr. Reddick says one of his main priorities is making sure everyone including minorities like himself have equal access to health care.

“People that are at increase risk for dying during childbirth or an increase risk of acquiring an HIV infection and how we find ways to level that playing field so they have an opportunity to pursue optimal health. Those are two example because those are two big problems we have in Georgia but for me anything related to health equity.”

While he has big goals, he says he knows he also has big shoes to fill.

So he’s challenging himself to get out in to the all the communities that make up Coastal Georgia.

“Establishing that trust, finding out what the needs are of each individual county which all have their unique challenges. That’s the part that’s probably going to take a while to but I feel like I’m up for the challenge.”