On behalf of the FPHNYC Board of Directors and Staff, I would like to acknowledge the departure of Commissioner Mary T. Bassett and thank her for her extraordinary leadership during the last four and a half years as both Commissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the President and Chair of the Fund for Public Health in New York City. Dr. Bassett’s tenure focused on health equity and under her leadership the Health Department launched the Center for Health Equity; opened the Neighborhood Health Action Centers; and partnered with community-based organizations to advance racial and social justice. Dr. Bassett oversaw a number of initiatives that focused on mental health, sexual health, chronic disease and substance use. During her tenure, her calm and clear communications helped the City navigate a number of outbreaks including Ebola, Legionella, and Zika. She shone a spotlight on enduring racism and the impact structural and institutional racism have on persistent and unfair heath disparities across our City. She challenged us to be better and to continue to pursue equity in all the work that we do in our communities, in our clinics, in our workplaces, and in all of our conversations. We will miss her!
Dr. Bassett, good luck in your new position as the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Professor in the Department of Public Health and Human Rights at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
And, a warm welcome to First Deputy Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot who will serve as Acting Health Commissioner and President and Chair of FPHNYC. Previously, Dr. Barbot served as Commissioner of Health for Baltimore City from 2010 to 2014. A native New Yorker, Dr. Barbot previously worked for the Health Department from 2003 to 2010 as the Medical Director for the Office of School Health. As First Deputy Commissioner, she has been overseeing a diverse portfolio encompassing health equity, health policy and emergency operations. The Board and Staff of FPHNYC look forward to working with Dr. Barbot!