Catherine C. Slemp, M.D., M.P.H.

Commissioner and State Health Officer, WVDHHR Bureau for Public Health

Dr. Cathy Slemp has spent a career working in public health at community, state and national levels.  At present, she is excited to be back with staff at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health as the Commissioner and State Health Officer.  From 2002 to 2011, Dr. Slemp served as both the Bureau’s Acting State Health Officer and the founding director of the state’s public health emergency preparedness and response programs.  Prior to these roles, she worked with local health departments and other partners to build epidemiology capacity and was the founding director of the state’s Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology.

In recent years, prior to returning to the Bureau for Public Health, Dr. Slemp had an active public health consulting practice.  She served as an action-learning coach for the Public Health Institute’s National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health working with multi-sector teams to advance health equity in communities, provided executive level support to the Department of Health in the US Virgin Islands, and worked locally as Relief and Development Coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia, coordinating disaster recovery efforts and engaging faith-based organizations with community partners using a gifts/asset-based approach.  Dr. Slemp has a long history working on efforts to model, measure, and advance the nation’s health security and resilience, including COPEWELL (Bloomberg School of Public Health - Johns Hopkins University) and previously, the National Health Security Preparedness Index.  She is particularly interested in exploring the intersection between disaster recovery and community development. 

At the national level, Dr. Slemp serves on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for Preparedness and Response and on the National Biodefense Science Board for the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, co-chairing workgroups for each.  Locally, she volunteers with non-profits working on issues of safe housing and food security. Dr. Slemp has authored or co-authored publications on a wide variety of public health and medical topics.

Dr. Slemp is board certified in both public health / preventive medicine and in family practice.  She undertook her medical training at Duke University; preventive medicine residency and MPH at the Bloomberg School of Public Health - Johns Hopkins University; and her family practice residency at St. Margaret Memorial Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Slemp received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and has undertaken leadership training through both the Southeast and National Public Health Leadership Institutes.