Joann Schaefer, MD

Chief Medical Officer, State of Nebraska
Director, Division of Public Health
Department of Health and Human Services

Dr. Schaefer has served in a dual role as Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Division of Public Health for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services since 2005. Prior to that, she was a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Creighton University Medical School and practiced family medicine in her Omaha office.

Dr. Schaefer is committed to creating a culture of wellness and helping Nebraskans lead healthier lives through preventive screenings, nutrition and physical activity.

She leads by example showing people they can overcome health challenges by sharing her own journey as a liver transplant patient, and how a healthy lifestyle along with a positive attitude can make a difference in life and longevity.   

Dr. Schaefer is passionate about public health and continues to promote the importance of significant achievements like safe drinking water, vaccination and disease control. 

Her leadership in preparedness continually helps Nebraska earn national recognition for its efforts to plan for an emergency and protect its citizens.

Dr. Schaefer also oversees the regulation of health care facilities and professionals in the state.

She’s well-versed in information technology and transformed public health data systems to ensure the state is the trusted source of health data through policy, program and operational work. She’s also the co-chair and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials’ representative for the Joint Public Health Informatics Taskforce. 

Dr. Schaefer graduated from Creighton University Medical School and is board-certified in family medicine. She’s a distinguished alumna of California State University-Fullerton where she received her undergraduate degree. She’s been honored by the American Medical Women's Association as a Local Legend for changing the face of medicine in Nebraska. The Nebraska Medical Association named her its 2004 Physician of the Year. 
 
Dr. Schaefer is a half marathon runner and is frequently joined by her husband Phil, Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps. (retired). They live in Omaha and have two grown daughters Virginia and Maggie


Joann Schaefer, MD
Chief Medical Officer, State of Nebraska
Director, Division of Public Health
Department of Health and Human Services

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