ATLANTA — Georgia’s public health agency has a new leader after the former commissioner was named the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gov. Nathan Deal on Friday appointed Dr. J. Patrick O’Neal as the interim commissioner of the Department of Public Health. O’Neal replaces Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, 70, who headed the department since 2011.

O’Neal has been director of health protection for the agency and previously worked as the medical director for the division’s Office of EMS/Trauma.

Before joining the department, he was a doctor of emergency medicine at DeKalb Medical Center for 29 years after serving as director of the outpatient clinic at the Medical Center of Central Georgia for two years.