Reorganizing the New York State Department of Health

To achieve this goal, the department established the following:

  • Office of Aging and Long-Term Care
  • Office of Health Justice and Human Rights
  • Chief Medical Officer
  • Leadership Cabinet

In addition, there will be a prioritization of data sharing at the agency level and its use to drive policy as well as a renewed focus on regional office engagement with local health departments.

The department’s rebuilding efforts focused on five areas:

  • Invest in our people, bring in new and diverse talent, streamline hiring processes, and create a culture of support and appreciation after the great sacrifices made during the COVID response.
  • Shape our organization to reflect our focus on health equity, the needs of older people in New York, and emergency preparedness and response.
  • Be more proactive by developing policy coordination and project management capabilities and streamlining critical processes.
  • Align public health, insurance, and organizational tools across departments to maximize impact and improve health outcomes.
  • Improving our use of data to advance our mission to improve public health and health equity.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mary T. Bassett, “Public health touches every aspect of our lives.” “Our new organizational focus and leadership team structure will better position the Department to shape our priorities and delivery systems to improve health access and outcomes for all New Yorkers. The scope of this Department extends beyond traditional public health and includes a health care regulatory function, delivery institutions and health insurance programs. which provides coverage for more than a third of New Yorkers. In my tenure as commissioner, I intend to do everything in my power to fulfill our mandate. New Yorkers deserve nothing less.”

The main changes include:

  • Establishment of a new Office of Health Equity and Human Rights. This office will address health disparities and work to improve diversity, equity and inclusion within the department. It will consist of the existing offices of Minority Health and Prevention of Health Disparities and Language Access, the AIDS Institute, and the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention. The new Office of Health Equality and Human Rights will be chaired by Deputy Commissioner Johann Morn.
  • Create a new office for aging and long-term care. This office will develop policies and programs to address the needs of older New Yorkers and people with disabilities who require long-term care and support services. It will be led by Adam Herbst, Deputy Commissioner on Aging and Long-Term Care and will work collaboratively with the Office of Health Insurance Programs, the Office of Primary Care and Health Systems Administration, and the New York Office on Aging to coordinate the Department’s activities related to New York’s aging. The office will be responsible for long-term care functions related to licensing, facility surveys, data collection, policy and analysis. In addition, he will assist in the development and implementation of the Master Plan on Aging to improve recruitment, retention and training of long-term care workers, and to improve the quality of long-term care.
  • Appointment of a medical director. Dr. Eugene Heslin will provide clinical and clinical expertise to all senior leadership and various department staff. Dr. Heslin has more than 30 years in medicine and is an expert in healthcare leadership, policy development, and operations management focused on improving patient outcomes.
  • Formation of a new plenipotentiary council. It will consist of dynamic policy and health experts who will report directly to State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett and serve as advisors on important issues as we develop new programs and policies across the department that will protect, improve, and enhance the health of New Yorkers. The
  • The members of the Executive Council are: Laura Mascoch, Chief of Staff; Kristen Proud, Acting Executive Deputy Commissioner; Ursula Bauer, Deputy Commissioner for Public Health; Dr.. Eugene Heslin, First Deputy Commissioner and Chief Medical Officer; Sam Miller, Assistant Commissioner for Foreign Affairs; Cathy Marks, General Counsel; Amir Basiri, Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Health Insurance Programs and Acting Director of Medicaid. Adam Herbst, Deputy Commissioner on Aging and Long-Term Care; Dr.. John Morley, Deputy Commissioner of Primary Care and Health Systems Administration; Dr.. Johann Morn, Deputy Commissioner for Health Equality and Human Rights; Dianne Christensen, Deputy Commissioner of Administration; and Daniel Houlahan, Executive Director, New York State Health and Senior Advisors, Megan Baldwin, Paul Francis and Sandra Mullen.
  • Strengthening the regional offices. There will also be a concerted effort to ensure that our regional offices are more involved in public health policy making and that they prioritize the needs of local health departments. Regional offices will now be part of the Office of Public Health, which will enhance the voice of local perspectives in our policy making and simplify local policy and program implementation.

To get the latest news from the Department of Health click here.