De Blasio announces new NYC health commissioner after Barbot resigns amid pandemic

Grant Boone
August 5, 2020

De Blasio, a Democrat, thanked Barbot for her "important work" during the crisis that made NY the deadliest coronavirus hotspot in the country this spring. De Blasio deflected questions about why Barbot had resigned.

Meanwhile, few politicians in America have achieved the same level of unpopularity as Mayor de Blasio, who mounted a futile presidential campaign last fall that failed to garner any significant support to stay in the race even close to the Iowa caucuses.

On Tuesday, she said that, despite resigning, her commitment to the city and public health is "unwavering".

Naming Chokshi as the new health commissioner shortly after, de Blasio said, "This is not the first crisis he has been through".

Chokshi has been with Health + Hospitals since 2014, and most recently served as its chief population health officer, where he reportedly led the system's transition to telemedicine during the pandemic.

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"Dr. Chokshi has spent his career fighting for those too often left behind", de Blasio said in a press release announcing the appointment.

She will be replaced by Dr. Dave Chokshi, a Rhodes Scholar who worked at the Louisiana Department of Health during Hurricane Katrina and was the principal health adviser to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs during the Obama administration.

The big picture: New York City, the former domestic epicenter of the coronavirus in the USA, has successfully flattened its curve and reported three deaths related to the virus on Monday, as deaths rise in other states across the country.

"Everyone had to give their all and I know she did to help us work our way through", the mayor said of Barbot's leadership during the peak of the city's battle with the coronavirus pandemic. He earned his medical degree from University of Pennsylvania, then did a clinical fellowship at Harvard Medical School. "He is of a rare breed of leaders who combine brilliance and strong judgement with humility and compassion". These qualities and his unfailing moral compass will serve New York City well as it faces the COVID19 pandemic and longstanding public health challenges.

Barbot's resignation comes amid a clash between the mayor and the city's health officials over his decision to take the Health Department's responsibility for COVID-19 contact tracing and, instead, giving that responsibility to the public hospital system, The New York Times reported.

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