NY Health Commissioner Mary Bassett to step down in January


New York State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett, a longtime public servant who took over the agency last year, will resign effective Jan. 1, she said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

“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. Hochul,” Bassett said, emphasizing the decision to leave was “difficult.”

Bassett was appointed by Hochul after the resignation of then-Commissioner Howard Zucker, who was embroiled in scandal over his prominent role as the official leading former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pandemic response. Cuomo himself resigned from office amid a litany of sexual harassment allegations. Hochul recently won her first full, four-year term as governor.

Bassett served as former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s health commissioner from 2014 to 2018 before stepping down to become the director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She said she’ll be returning to the school in January.

“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,” her statement adds.


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