New York City Board of Health

Resolution Declares Racism a Public Health Crisis

At an October 18 meeting, the Board of Health passed a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis.

The resolution asks the Health Department to expand its anti-racism work and requires it to create priorities for a racially just recovery from COVID-19. It also includes other requirements to address this public health crisis in the short and long term.


View all Notices of Intention or Adoption.

NYC Board of Health Members

Dave A. Chokshi, MD, MSc
Commissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Pamela S. Brier, MPH
Former President and CEO of Maimonides Medical Center

Sixto R. Caro, MD
Physician in private practice

Joel A. Forman, MD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Rosa M. Gil, DSW
President and CEO of Communilife

Sidney Hankerson, MD, MBA
Co-Director, Columbia University Wellness Center

Mitchell Katz, MD
President of NYC Health + Hospitals

Susan Klitzman, DrPH, MPH, CPH
Senior Associate Dean for Administration and Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at CUNY School of Public Health

Simona C. Kwon, DrPH, MPH
Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, NYU Grossman School of Medicine

Karen B. Redlener, MS
Executive Director Children's Health Fund & Community Pediatric Programs of Montefiore Health System

Lynne D. Richardson, MD, FACEP
Professor and Vice Chair of Emergency Medicine and Professor of Population Health Science & Policy at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

NYC Board of Health History: From Typhus to Trans Fat

Yellow Fever was plaguing New York City when the Board of Health held its first meeting in 1805. Led by Mayor De Witt Clinton, the board evacuated stricken neighborhoods and started collecting mortality statistics, to "furnish data for reflection and calculation." Yellow Jack swept the city for the last time in 1822, but cholera, typhus and tuberculosis persisted, fueled by crowding and a lack of sanitation.

Everything changed in 1866, when the New York State Legislature expanded the Board and insulated it from political influence by setting aside seats for physicians and scientists. Newly empowered, the Board decreed that "neither hogs nor goats [could] run at large in our city" and pressured landlords to maintain their buildings. Cholera deaths promptly fell by 90 percent.

The 11-member Board of Health remains a vital force today. Most members - appointed by the Mayor with the consent of the City Council - serve six-year terms. Each Board member is a recognized expert, and the group represents a broad range of health and medical disciplines. They serve without pay and, like judges, cannot be dismissed without cause. As the overseer of New York City's Health Code, the Board 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 and, more recently, a plan for eliminating trans fat from restaurants.