John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, FACOEM was honored to join Governor Bill Haslam’s cabinet Sept. 19, 2011, as the 13th commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health. He is a physician with more than 25 years of service in clinical and public health leadership at the federal, state and local levels. Dreyzehner began his medical service in 1989 as a United States Air Force flight surgeon, where he learned about the critical force multiplier effect of the public health mission, the Baldrige performance excellence framework and accumulated more than 300 hours in the F-15 Eagle and other aircraft as a member of USAF 94th Fighter Squadron and later, Chief of Aeromedical Assessment for Air Combat Command. He was honorably discharged as a major in 1997. Following several years in the private practice of occupational medicine he returned to public service in 2002 as the director of a multi-county health district in the Tri-cities region of central Appalachia before coming to Tennessee as Commissioner. He also practiced in the field of addiction medicine for several years while working to bring attention to the public health aspects of the now well-recognized epidemic.
Dreyzehner graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, with a B.S. in psychology. He earned his M.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Master of Public Health degree at the University of Utah, where he completed his residency and served as chief resident at the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health.
Residency-trained in occupational medicine and board certified in 1999, he is licensed to practice in Tennessee and Virginia and is a Fellow of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. He holds appointments as adjunct faculty and professor (Hon.) with East Tennessee State University’s College of Public Health, founding faculty of the Healthy Appalachia Institute and formerly visiting assistant professor of public health at the University of Virginia. He chairs the advisory committee for the Virginia Tech-Carillion School of Medicine’s Master of Public Health. He has enjoyed a lifetime commitment to volunteer service in a variety of other capacities, presently serving in leadership roles in several non-profit entities and as a member of others as well as in a number of professional organizations. He and his wife, Jana, a child psychiatrist, have two sons.