August 29, 2018
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today the appointment of Dr. Mitchell Katz, President and Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals, to the New York City Board of Health. Dr. Katz was appointed with support from the City Council and will join the 11-member board effective August 28.
"The City's Board of Health has an enormous responsibility to help keep New Yorkers healthy and well," said Mayor de Blasio. "Dr. Mitchell Katz's experience as a physician, public health professional, and leader of our city's public hospital system will bring an invaluable perspective to the Board's important work."
"The Board of Health has a longstanding and impressive history of improving the health of New Yorkers, and I am honored to join it," saidNYC Health + Hospitals President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Mitchell Katz. "Beyond preventing health problems, public health can also use epidemiology and assessment, health education, and regulation to develop solutions to pressing health concerns. The tools of health service and public health are synergistic in improving the health of a city. Health + Hospitals has special insight into the health disparities that compound other inequities in our society because we serve primarily vulnerable populations, and I look forward to bringing this insight to the Board of Health."
"Dr. Katz is an extraordinary physician, public servant, and public health professional," said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio. "His experience and perspective tackling public health issues in other major U.S. cities will be invaluable to New Yorkers, as we continue leading the charge to create healthy communities."
"Dr. Katz is a recognized leader in public health. From outlawing the sale of tobacco at pharmacies in San Francisco to creating an ambulatory care network in Los Angeles, Dr. Katz has made system-wide changes to advance population health. He is an excellent addition to the Board of Health," said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett, who serves as Chair of the Board of Health.
"Dr. Mitchell Katz has devoted his entire professional life to prioritizing the health and safety of the public and ensuring they are provided the best physicians and services. As President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals, Dr. Katz demonstrated his commitment to public service and the values we as New Yorkers hold dear: respect, equality and dignity. I congratulate Dr. Katz on his well-deserving appointment to the New York City Board of Health," said Speaker Corey Johnson.
"Dr. Katz's appointment to the NYC Board of Health will further strengthen our City's ability to implement sound public health measures to vastly improve New Yorkers' overall health and wellbeing," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "His expertise and proven leadership in this field will continue to guide our City in tackling the ongoing health disparities affecting New Yorkers."
"New York City was fortunate to recruit Mitchell Katz to run Health + Hospitals, the nation's largest urban public health care system, and he will be a powerful voice for public health on the Board," said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, Health Committee chair. "The Board and the City's public hospitals are long-standing world leaders in public health, so it is important to have Dr. Katz on the Board."
"In his short tenure, Dr. Katz has already brought much needed energy, creativity, and determination in his role as leader of our City's public hospital system," said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Health Committee. "He will no doubt offer an invaluable perspective as a member of the Board of Health, and I look forward to working with him in this new capacity."
"Dr. Mitchell Katz, given his impressive background and current position as CEO of the Health & Hospitals Corp., is an indispensable addition to the NYC Board of Health," said Council Member Karen Koslowitz, Chair of the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections.
A primary care physician and Brooklyn native, Dr. Katz took over NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest public health care system in the country, in January 2018 after heading the public health systems in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Under his leadership, NYC Health + Hospitals is prioritizing the growth of primary care with the opening of new community health centers and a new physician recruitment campaign, DOCS4NYC. Dr. Katz is also focused on the long-term financial health of the Health + Hospitals system and has created a balanced, five-year budget plan with new revenue-generating and savings initiatives to build a healthier, more resilient health system.
The Board of Health held its first meeting in 1805 in response to an outbreak of yellow fever. Led by Mayor De Witt Clinton, the Board evacuated neighborhoods impacted by the disease and started collecting mortality statistics. Later, cholera, typhus and tuberculosis outbreaks arrived in New York City, fueled by crowding and a lack of sanitation. In 1866, the State legislature expanded the Board and set aside seats for physicians and scientists. Strengthened by a new Sanitary Bureau with fifteen inspectors, the Board pressured landlords to maintain their buildings. Cholera deaths soon fell by 90 percent.
As the overseer of New York City's Health Code, the Board of Health has enacted countless measures to improve the wellbeing of New Yorkers over the years, including a ban on interior lead paint; modern tuberculosis control provisions; the elimination of trans fat from restaurants; and, more recently, the creation of sodium warning icons for chain restaurants and the requirement that child care sites maintain two epinephrine auto-injectors on site.