NEW YORK — Former New York City health commissioner Mary Bassett will soon be leading the state's health department.
According to Governor Kathy Hochul her appointment will be effective Dec. 1.
In a statement, Hochul said in part, "Our recovery from this pandemic requires tested leadership and experience to improve health equity and access across the state, and Dr. Bassett is perfectly equipped to lead the New York State Department of Health during this critical moment."
Bassett, who led the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from 2014 to 2018, says she's "humbled and honored" to return to her home state.
She went on to say in part, "The pandemic underscored the importance of public health, while also revealing inequities driven by structural racism. As we move to end the pandemic, we have a unique opportunity to create a state that is more equitable for all New Yorkers."
When asked about Bassett's potential appointment at his daily press conference Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio called her "an excellent leader" who knows and understands the issues of the city.
He noted an at times tumultuous relationship with the department under Governor Andrew Cuomo and former state health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.
While leading the city's health department, Bassett worked to close gaps in health care access disparities. She was also at the helm during the city's response to Ebola in 2014 and multiple Legionnaires' disease outbreaks.
She currently serves as the director of the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University.