How’s this name for a city department head? Dr. Pierre Vigilance will take over the health department, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announced today.

Vigilance comes from the Baltimore County, Maryland, heath department, where he’s been director since 2005. He holds an M.D. and master of public health degree from Johns Hopkins, and he has D.C. ties, too, having gone to college at GW and his medical residency at Howard.

The man still has to be approved by the D.C. Council, but in a good sign, At-Large Councilmember David A. Catania—-the health committee chair and de facto D.C. health czar—-just issued a press release saying he’s “encouraged” by the nomination.

From the release: “The Mayor and his team deserve a lot of credit for the manner in which they conducted this search,” said Catania. “The process was deliberate but quick, which was necessary given the importance of the position to the city’s healthcare system.”

At a press conference this morning, Fenty namechecked all the issues Vigilance is to tackle—-childhood obesity, lead poisoning, infant mortality, et al.

On the obesity issue, Vigilance says he speaks from experience: Looking svelte in a tailored suit, he recounted how he weighed as much as 250 pounds during his residency at Howard: “How can you be speaking about health and health issues if you aren’t willing to make some of these own changes?”

Photo by Darrow Montgomery