Head of NYC Health Department leaving post to go to Harvard

NEW YORK — The New York City Health Department has announced a new acting health commissioner in light of news former commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett was resigning by the end of the month.

The Health Department announced Dr. Oxiris Barbot, who previously served as first deputy commissioner, will be taking over the role from Bassett. Bassett, who was first appointed as commissioner in 2014, announced she was stepping down earlier in August. Starting Sept. 1, Bassett will serve as the director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights, a research center focused on health and human rights, Harvard Public Health announced on Twitter.

Under Bassett’sleadership, NYC became the first US city to require chain restaurants to have sodium warning label markings on menus. In 2014, Bassett launched the Center for Health Equity, which works to address health inequities and expand health care access, during her tenure at the Health Department.

Dr. Oxiris Barbot was appointed first deputy commissioner in April 2014.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard before attending Columbia University, where she got her medical degree.

“I thank Dr. Bassett for her commitment to our city,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “She has been a truly exemplary public servant. It is my sincere desire that our next city health commissioner builds on her work and makes deeper progress in advancing public health, particularly in embracing plant-based nutrition and other evidence-based approaches to improving wellness and combating historic inequities that put our children and families at risk.”

Barbot served as Commissioner of Health for Baltimore City from 2010 to 2014. She previously worked for NYC’s Health Department  from 2003 to 2010 where she was medical director for the public school system. Barbot received her bachelor’s degree from Yale and her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

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