Letitia Presley-Cantrell, PhD

Branch Chief, Program Development and Services Branch Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As chief of the Program Development and Services Branch in the Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, Dr. Presley-Cantrell provides leadership and strategic engagement with stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels in the development, implementation, and promotion of community-based public health programs and research aimed at reducing the rates of cardiovascular disease in underserved and priority populations. Recently she served as the Acting Director of the Office on Smoking and Health (OSH), where she led the Division in its complex work of preventing and controlling the use of commercial tobacco products. Dr. Presley-Cantrell assessed OSH’s needs, provided recommendations for development, and served as a bridge between leadership and all branches and offices in the Division. Dr. Presley-Cantrell currently co-chairs the Health Equity Taskforce for the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. As a nationally recognized leader, she provides expertise on racial disparities, social determinants of health, and health equity. Dr. Presley-Cantrell has led public health efforts on various issues, including minority health, sleep, COPD, and mental health. Throughout her career at CDC, she has worked extensively with rural and urban communities at all levels. A focal point of her career has been attempting to reduce the prevalence of cardiovascular disease and related deaths in minority populations, particularly among women. She is a past guest editor of the Preventing Chronic Disease Mental Health Supplement and has authored and co-authored publications on various health care topics.
Dr. Presley-Cantrell conceptualized, implemented, and currently directs a national internship, fellowship, and faculty development program aimed at minority-serving institutions to prepare the next generation of public health professionals. Over 800 minority public health students have participated in the program, which deploys them to local communities to work collaboratively to address chronic conditions. In recognition of her work, Dr. Presley-Cantrell received the CDC/DHPE David Satcher Award for her exceptional leadership dedicated to improving minority health and preparing the next generation of public health professionals. She received the Health Disparities Champion Award from the National REACH Coalition for her efforts to eliminate health disparities and advance health equity.