Health Department Names New First Deputy Commissioner And Chief Program Officer

June 21, 2024

Dr. Joxel Garcia has been appointed by Health Commissioner Vasan as the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s First Deputy Commissioner and Chief Program Officer. 

He will provide leadership to the agency by facilitating collaboration on cross-divisional program initiatives, such as HealthyNYC, overseeing the Divisions of Disease Control, Environmental Health, Family and Child Health, and Mental Hygiene, working hand-in-hand with the broader Health Department leadership team in setting agency direction, and representing the agency externally.

Dr. Garcia comes to the agency with decades of experience at all levels of government and in the private sector, including serving as 14th Assistant Secretary for Health of the United States and a Four-Star Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service.

“Our city’s public servants work every day to promote public health, and with the appointment of Dr. Garcia to this new role, we will be adding an extraordinary talent to our ranks,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “As we build our landmark ‘HealthyNYC’ initiative to extend the average lifespan of New Yorkers, Dr. Garcia will help strengthen collaboration across divisions, oversee crucial areas like disease control and family health, and bring decades of experience to our city government.”

“… experience serving in this critical agency role.”

“Collaborative work across the Health Department, and across city agencies, and across sectors, is vital to protecting and promoting the health of all New Yorkers, including achieving our HealthyNYC agenda for healthier longer lives,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “We are very fortunate to have someone of Dr. Garcia’s caliber, track record of service, and experience serving in this critical agency role.”

“It is a pleasure to integrate my experience in the public and private sector to serve the people of New York City,” said Dr. Garcia. “Especially this week, extreme heat shows us how vital public health information is to prevent harm and poor health outcomes. I am excited to continue this important work alongside Commissioner Vasan.”

Dr. Garcia steps into the role as the Health Department launches HealthyNYC, the city’s vision for how to lengthen life expectancy and build a healthier city for all. The campaign aims to ensure all New Yorkers are able to realize their full health potential, regardless of who they are, where they are from and where they live. HealthyNYC’s ambitious goals include increasing average lifespans to exceed 83 years.

Dr. Garcia has served as the Director and Chief Medical Officer at the Washington DC Department of Health, the US Assistant Secretary for Health and Admiral for the US Public Health Service at the US Department of Health and Human Services, the United States Representative to the World Health Organization, Deputy Director for the Pan American Health Organization, and Commissioner for Health for the State of Connecticut.

“… leading edge strategies to incorporate employee health status …”

In the private sector, Dr. Garcia served as the Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at American Express, where he developed leading edge strategies to incorporate employee health status and oversaw the Company’s Wellness Centers globally, including India, the Philippines, Mexico, and Argentina, as well as several more recent private sector roles.

Dr. Garcia is a gynecologist by training and studied at the Ponce School of Medicine in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where he is originally from, before completing his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Mount Sinai Hospital in Connecticut. Dr. Garcia also holds an MBA in Health Systems from the University of Hartford, Connecticut.

Dr. Garcia’s first day in the role was June 17, 2024.

“I have had the opportunity to work with Dr Garcia for many years in his many leadership roles,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director, American Public Health Association. “He is an amazing leader and practitioner that adds value to each engagement. I look forward to working with him and Dr. Vasan in his new role.”

“… serving the public … building healthy community both globally and locally.”

“Dr. Joxel Garcia’s stellar track record in public health, government policymaking, and international diplomacy will serve New York City very well,” said Ambassador (ret.) Roger Noriega. “For more than 20 years, I have known Joxel as a talented and tireless professional who is committed to serving the public and building healthy communities—both globally and locally.”

“Dr. Joxel Garcia has made significant contributions to advancing public health on a global scale through his extensive experience in both the public and private sectors,” said Ronald A. DePinho MD, Professor & Past President, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. “His impactful career is distinguished by his unwavering integrity and passion for improving health outcomes, which are evident in every role he undertakes. I anticipate that his leadership and dedication will improve the health and well-being for all New Yorkers and set a model for the nation and the world.”

Photo credit: Source.

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