Charity Dean

Charity Dean is an American public health physician who is known for her work as the assistant director of the California Department of Public Health in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. She is the co-founder and CEO of The Public Health Company.

Charity Dean
Alma materTulane University School of Medicine and Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
OccupationCEO / Public Health Physician
OrganizationThe Public Health Company

Early life and educationEdit

Dean grew up in rural Oregon and became interested in becoming a doctor and studying infectious disease as a young child.[1] She completed a B.S. in Microbiology at Oregon State University, an MD from Tulane University School of Medicine, and a Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.[2] From 2008 through 2011, she was an internal medicine resident at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.[3]


As a public health official in Santa Barbara County, Dean gained experience with containment of infectious disease outbreaks, including meningitis in 2013[4] and tuberculosis in 2014.[5] From 2011 through 2014, she was the deputy public health officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department,[3] and from 2014 through 2018, she was the public health officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.[6]

In late 2018,[7] she became the assistant director of the California Department of Public Health.[4][8] In January 2020, she began to warn state officials about COVID-19,[9] based on reports from China,[10][11] and continued for months.[4] In April 2020, she was also appointed as co-chair of the California COVID-19 testing task force, which included efforts to expand access to testing.[12][13] Her work included coordination with elected officials and the White House Coronavirus Task Force.[14] She left her position as the assistant director of the California Department of Public Health in July 2020,[8] after submitting her resignation on June 4,[15] and then began "tweeting news and information, some of which could be seen as a comment on California’s COVID testing and response," according to Deadline in August 2020.[16]

In July 2020, she was featured in the ABC News 20/20 investigative report American Catastrophe,[17] and in May 2021, she was featured in a 60 Minutes broadcast about the book The Premonition by Michael Lewis.[18] She is one of the experts profiled in the book,[5][10] and named by Lewis as "one of the people who saw the real danger of the virus before the rest of the country did," according to NPR.[19]

In August 2020, she co-founded The Public Health Company,[5][1] which has created software to assist the public health community and businesses with managing the risks of infectious disease.[20] She has also continued to publicly offer her expert opinion about COVID-19 responses[21][22] and responding to pandemics generally.[23]

Honors and awardsEdit

  • 2018 Physician of the Year award from the Central Coast Medical Association[24]
  • 2018 Women of the Year recognition from Senator Jackson and Assemblywoman Limon[2]


  1. ^ a b Loizos, Connie (May 11, 2021). "Disease-related risk management is now a thing, and this young startup is at the forefront". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2021-05-12.
  2. ^ a b "Charity Dean MD, MPH&TM". USC Schaeffer. Retrieved 2021-05-20.
  3. ^ a b Molina, Joshua (September 28, 2018). "Dr. Charity Dean of Santa Barbara County Appointed to Statewide Public Health Post". Noozhawk. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Confessore, Nicholas (2021-05-06). "Michael Lewis Chronicles the Story of Covid's Cassandras". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-05-12.
  5. ^ a b c Szalai, Jennifer (May 3, 2021). "The Pandemic Gets the Michael Lewis Treatment, Heroic Technocrats and All". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  6. ^ "Dr. Charity Dean lands state leadership role". ABC3. September 29, 2018. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  7. ^ Lewis, Michael. "America's war against Covid? This woman was at its centre". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2021-05-12.
  8. ^ a b Bollag, Sophia (August 9, 2020). "Update: California public health director leaves job 5 months into COVID-19 pandemic". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  9. ^ Brangham, William; Thoet, Alison (May 6, 2021). "The 'ignored characters' of the pandemic and why their premonitions were pushed aside". PBS NewsHour. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  10. ^ a b Dickerson, John (May 2, 2021). "Doctors, scientists who warned officials about oncoming pandemic focus of new Michael Lewis book". CBS News. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  11. ^ Delistraty, Cody (May 3, 2021). "Michael Lewis's 'The Premonition': A Closer Look at How the Pandemic Response Went Awry". The Wall Street Journal Magazine. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  12. ^ Molina, Joshua (April 9, 2020). "Santa Barbara's Dr. Charity Dean at Center of Effort to Create COVID-19 Testing Hubs". Noozhawk. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  13. ^ "'Not Out Of The Woods': Newsom Pleads For Continued Social Distancing, Launches State Testing Task Force". CBS2. April 4, 2020. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  14. ^ Baumgaertner, Emily (July 30, 2020). "California scales back coronavirus testing task force despite long lines, new outbreaks". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  15. ^ "Public health officials are facing political pressure, threats and armed protests as states push to reopen". CNBC. Associated Press. June 12, 2020. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  16. ^ Tapp, Tom (August 10, 2020). "California Coronavirus Update: Governor Gavin Newsom Addresses Major Data Issues Amid Resignations, New Ethics Complaint About $1B Deal: "I'm Governor, The Buck Stops With Me"". Deadline. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  17. ^ Donnelly, Jim (July 23, 2020). "Watch the 20/20 "American Catastrophe" special Tuesday". ABC. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  18. ^ Farnsworth, Beth (May 4, 2021). "Dr. Charity Dean focus of 60 Minutes "The Premonition" segment on COVID-19". ABC3. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  19. ^ Martin, Rachel (May 3, 2021). "Michael Lewis' 'The Premonition' Is A Sweeping Indictment Of The CDC". Retrieved 2021-05-12.
  20. ^ Mercado, Jorge (May 28, 2021). "Public health meets private sector with Charity Dean's new venture". Pacific Coast Business Times. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  21. ^ Welsh, Nick (February 11, 2021). "Public Health Expert Says Santa Barbara COVID Doctors Are 'Doing a Fantastic Job'". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  22. ^ Morrar, Sawsan (March 11, 2021). "California to offer affordable rapid COVID tests to school districts returning to campus". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  23. ^ Ghobrial, Adrian (June 2, 2021). "Should local governments be responsible for pandemic response? Lessons learned so far". Toronto City News. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  24. ^ "CMA Doc: Charity Dean, M.D." California Medical Association. December 17, 2018. Retrieved 31 May 2021.