Senior Advisor

Imelda Garcia, MPH

Imelda GarciaImelda Garcia serves as the senior advisor in the office of the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) commissioner. In this role, she provides strategy and oversight of data modernization and public health partnerships. 

Prior to that, Ms. Garcia served for five years as Associate Commissioner of the Laboratory and Infectious Disease Services Division at DSHS. In this role, she led the agency’s overall efforts in the COVID-19 pandemic response including disease surveillance, testing, and state’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts. In May 2021, she was recognized by the Texas Senate for serving as the Chair of the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP). As the chair, she led the state in recommending the initial COVID-19 vaccines to eligible populations and the vaccine allocations. In addition to leading the COVID-19 response, she also led the agency’s response to Ebola, Zika, Mpox, and other infectious diseases.

Ms. Garcia has dedicated her professional career to public health. She began her public health service in 2004 working with New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In 2007, she moved back home to Texas and resumed her public health work at DSHS. She has held various positions within DSHS with increasing leadership responsibilities working in the Family and Community Health Services Division. In 2014, she became the Director of Infectious Disease Prevention Section. In this role, she oversaw prevention and control activities related to zoonotic and emerging and acute infectious diseases, healthcare safety including healthcare acquired infections and preventable adverse events, antibiotic stewardship, tuberculosis, HIV/STD, and child and adult immunization programs.

Ms. Garcia received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Mexican American Studies with a concentration in public policy. From 2001 to 2003, Ms. Garcia attended the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University gaining her master’s in public health with a focus on health policy and management.