Healthy people, families, and communities.


ATLANTA (GA) – The Babies Can't Wait (BCW) Program is Georgia’s statewide early intervention system for infants and toddlers with special needs, ages birth to three, and their families. The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is the lead agency for administration of the BCW system. As required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C section 34 CFR §§303.110-303.113, “the State must publish its Part C application or policy in a manner that will ensure circulation throughout the State at least 60-days prior to the date on which the application or policy is submitted and allow an opportunity for public comments on the application or policy for at least 30 days during that 60-day publication period. In order to meet this requirement, BCW invites interested persons to participate in a 60-day public comment period for the revised Fiscal Policies, May 2013. The public may review the revised policy online ( or at locations throughout the state, including these sites in the North Georgia Health District listed below: 

Woodstock-Cherokee County Health Department
7545 N. Main St., Ste. 100, Woodstock, GA 30188 
Gilmer County Health Department
28 Southside Church St., Ellijay, GA 30540 
Pickens County Health Department
60 Health Way, Jasper, GA 30143 
Murray County Health Department
709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Rd., Chatsworth, GA 30705 
Fannin County Health Department
95 Ouida St., Blue Ridge, GA 30513 
Babies Can’t Wait office
100 W. Walnut Ave., Dalton, GA 30720

Dr. John "Jack" Kennedy, Interim Health Director, North Georgia Health DistrictDalton (GA) Staff of the North Georgia Health District welcome John “Jack” Kennedy, M.D., M.B.A., as the district’s interim health director. 


Dr. Harold Pitts recently resigned as district health director after having served in that position since 2005. Dr. Kennedy is the director of the Cobb & Douglas Public Health District and will concurrently provide interim leadership of the North Georgia Health District until a permanent health director is named.


“I am excited about getting to know everyone so we can pursue our public health mission together,” said Kennedy. “I appreciate the warm welcome I have received here.”


Born in Providence, RI and reared in Richmond, VA, Kennedy practiced general surgery in the United States Air Force and, subsequently, in Marietta for 26 years where he also served as the founding board chairman of the Good Samaritan Health Center of Cobb. Presently, in addition to directing the Cobb & Douglas Public Health District, Kennedy serves as an Affiliated Professor in the Office of Applied Public Health at Rollins School of Public Health, part of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University.


Kennedy is a graduate of Duke University where he received both his Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry and his M.D. degree. He received an M.B.A. from the Michael Coles School of Business at Kennesaw State University. Kennedy completed his surgical internship and surgical residency at Emory University Affiliated Hospitals.


He and his wife, Maurine, have lived in Marietta since 1986 and have two adult children.


The North Georgia Health District, part of the Georgia Department of Public Health, is based in Dalton and includes Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties. For more information, call (706) 272-2342.

The North Georgia Health District has announced that Medbank is celebrating its 10th year in Whitfield County! Whitfield County's Medbank is a prescription drug assistance program Pictured from left to right are Rep. Bruce Broadrick, volunteer pharmacist; Susan Relaford, director; Betty Stinson, 10-year volunteer; and Tracy Marshall, program assistant.currently operating under the Whitfield County Health Department. Since opening its doors locally in May 2003, Medbank has collaborated with over 140 area doctors in assisting more than 4,000 eligible Whitfield County residents receive nearly 32 million dollars in essential prescription medications. Medbank is located at 420 Hamilton Street in Dalton and the phone number is (706) 281-2363. For more information, please link directly to Medbank's page here at

Rabies VirusEllijay (GA) - A six-month old, mixed breed puppy has been euthanized after a rabid raccoon attacked it at a residence on Roy Road in east Gilmer County. The incident occurred about ten miles from the Fannin County line.

No human exposure to the virus occurred.

According to Gilmer County Environmental Health Manager Andrea Martin, the puppy was attacked by the raccoon on the evening of May 8 while the dog sat on the front porch of its owner’s home. The owner shot the raccoon. It was then prepared for rabies testing by VCA Appalachian Animal Hospital.

Martin shipped the specimen to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory on May 9, and the raccoon was reported as positive for rabies on May 10.

The puppy had received its first rabies vaccination on April 20, however, the initial shot takes 28 days to become fully protective; therefore, the dog was considered to be unvaccinated. The owner chose to have the dog euthanized instead of placing it under a six-month quarantine, due to the severity of the dog’s injuries and level of exposure.