A Message from Our Chief Public Health Officer

Profile image of CEO Derrick Neal.Welcome to the Cambridge Public Health Department (CPHD)!

I’m Derrick Neal, Chief Public Health Officer for the City of Cambridge. We at the public health department focus on the health of the entire Cambridge community. Public health has certainly been in the spotlight as we’ve worked to protect against COVID-19. The people who live, work, and study in Cambridge proved to be strong partners in this effort; your collaboration in caring for your community gives me great optimism about what we can do together to live healthier, happier lives as we think toward the future.

I’m also honored to work in collaboration with Dr. Assaad Sayah, CEO of the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) and the city’s Commissioner of Public Health. CHA is a regional health system that prides itself on high-quality, equitable health care delivery. Under the CHA umbrella, we are positioned to address the health and well being of the city’s residents on many fronts. I invite you to learn more about CHA and Dr. Sayah’s leadership.

Despite the attention given to public health during the pandemic, CPHD’s work is typically more behind the scenes. Our goal is to prevent the negative conditions that can lead to poor health outcomes. We promote healthy lifestyles, encourage preventative health care (think: flu clinics), and train people to help prevent overdoses and youth substance use. CPHD staff collect and monitor data to identify areas of concern so that we can get out ahead of problems. We plan for emergencies and educate the public about dangers such as West Nile Virus. Our clinical staff are in the schools working with students and families and in our neighborhoods focused on keeping residents healthy. CPHD also supports the Cambridge community with programs in literacy, healthy eating, and active living

We recognize that systemic racism and other structural barriers are often impediments to the health and well-being of people of color, people with low incomes, immigrants, those with limited English fluency, LGBTQ+ members of our community, and others who may be marginalized.  Our programming is designed to shine a light on health inequities and do whatever we can do to address them. 

Public health is all about relationships. I look forward to continuing our partnerships with the people and organizations who make up the vibrant Cambridge community.

Yours in public health,

Derrick Neal, MPA

A Message from Our Deputy Chief Public Health Officer

Photo of Deborah Odunze Hello, I’m Deborah Odunze. I joined CPHD in 2022 as the department’s first Deputy Chief Public Health Officer.

My work involves providing fiscal leadership, high-level oversight, consultation, and administration of the Public Health Department’s daily operations, policies, strategic planning initiatives, and public health services. I collaborate with the division directors and staff to develop and expand programming, drive change, and improve strategies to ensure the CPHD infrastructure is in excellent condition to achieve our goals and fulfill our promise to the community.

As we transition from the pandemic, I am focused on promoting community engagement and outreach and maintaining solid relationships with the City, Cambridge Health Alliance, community partners, and Cambridge residents.


Deborah Odunze, DNP(c), MSN, RN

A Message from Our Medical Director

Profile Image for Lisa Dobberteen, Medical Director for School Health and Public Health Programs at the Cambridge Public Health Department.Hello, I’m Dr. Lisa Dobberteen. I wear a number of hats in the Cambridge community. I’m a pediatrician at Cambridge Health Alliance and also serve as Medical Director for School Health and Public Health Programs at the Cambridge Public Health Department. My work provides a bridge between clinical/medical considerations and population health, which is the health of the entire community. My role involves advising CPHD and the school department on clinical matters ranging from infectious disease prevention and immunization compliance to managing care for students with complex medical situations. I also collaborate with our nursing staff and epidemiologists to monitor trends and make policy recommendations.

I hope that you’ll find what you are looking for on the CPHD website. Our connections to the community are important to us, so please keep in touch with our work!


Lisa Dobberteen, MD



Updated: March 21, 2024