Dr. Linda Bell, South Carolina State Epidemiologist. Image from SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
Dr. Linda J. Bell is South Carolina's State Epidemiologist. Originally from El Paso, Texas, Dr. Bell received her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1982. She later went to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, where she received her medical degree in 1989 with a specialty in internal medicine. She was one of only five African Americans in her medical school class of 200 and the only African American in her internal medicine residency program. Dr. Bell's interest in infectious diseases led her to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) program. While working in Nigeria under the EIS program, she noticed the lack of basic medical care and the effect on populations which led her to change her career path to public health.
In 1994, Dr. Bell joined the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. In 2013, she became the State Epidemiologist, and in 2016 she became the Director of the Bureau of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control. Under her leadership, Dr. Bell has provided oversight for programs in infectious diseases, immunizations, Tuberculosis, and STD/HIV. She has also served a prominent role throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, providing science-based public education and shedding light on longstanding health disparities that contributed to the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on African Americans.