A Cape Elizabeth physician has been chosen to be Maine’s top public health officer.

Dr. Sheila Pinette will take over as head of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on May 1, according to an announcement by Mary Mayhew, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Pinette worked as a physician assistant and developed a program at Maine Medical Center to serve  high-risk pregnant mothers before earning her degree as a doctor of osteopathic medicine, or D.O., from the University of New England in 2000.

She currently has a medical practice in Cape Elizabeth, but will leave the practice to take on her new job.

As head of the Maine CDC, Pinette will oversee the state’s public health programs, response plans and disease prevention efforts.

Dr. Stephen Sears, the state epidemiologist, has been acting CDC director since December, when Dr. Dora Anne Mills stepped down from the post to become medical director of MaineCare. Mills was let go in February from the MaineCare job as part of a management shakeup by the new LePage administration.