State Health Commissioner To Leave Post

After only one year, Dr. Mary Bassett has submitted her resignation as state Health Commissioner. It takes effect Jan. 1.

“This was a very difficult decision. I have tremendous admiration for the work our staff has done during a very difficult year responding to COVID, monkeypox, polio and the day-to-day challenges of protecting New Yorkers’ health,” she said in a statement. “I am leaving now so the next commissioner can have the chance to lead this great department for a full four-year term under the leadership of Gov. (Kathy) Hochul. I am grateful that the Governor gave me the opportunity to serve as commissioner, and I know that the department and public health will be in good hands thanks to her leadership and the incredible talent and dedication of the staff. Though I am moving back to Massachusetts, I will always be a New Yorker, and I look forward to cheering on the department’s accomplishments in the coming years.”

She plans to return to the Harvard Chan School of Public Health where she previously as Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights in the department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Bassett, was appointed acting commissioner of Health only one year ago and confirmed by the sState Senate on Jan. 20. She previously served as Director of the Francois-Xavier BagnoudCenter for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University. Prior to that, she served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Director for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s African Health Initiative and Child Well-Being Prevention Program; and as Deputy Commissioner of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Early in her career, Dr. Bassett served on the medical faculty at the University of Zimbabwe and went on to serve as Associate Director of Health Equity at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Southern Africa Office. After returning to the United States, she served on the faculty of Columbia University, including as Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology in the Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Bassett received a B.A. in History and Science from Harvard University, an M.D. from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and an M.P.H. from the University of Washington.


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