Persichilli has been on the NJBIZ Health Care Power 50 list for the better part of a decade, as she worked her way up to become the state’s top health official.
While the seas were relatively quiet when she took over for Shereef Elnahal in July 2019, her ability to oversee a sprawling health care bureaucracy and regulate a monumentally larger private health care industry have been put to the test with the COVID-19 outbreak.
A career nurse, Persichilli was previously the state-appointed monitor to oversee the finances and other housekeeping of the troubled University Hospital in Newark, which has received low marks among national rankings.
As commissioner, Persichilli has become one of the faces of Gov. Phil Murphy’s key health care priorities which continue to play out in 2020. Those include stanching the opioid epidemic, curtailing underage use of vapes and electronic cigarettes and the new Office of Health Care Affordability and Transparency, which is tasked with keeping down medical costs in the state.
With the continued expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program over the past two years, Persichilli has been one of the main figures on top of the regulatory and bureaucratic rollout of the state’s program. Assuming voters approve a ballot question in November to legalize adult-use marijuana for recreational use, the Health Department would oversee that industry as well.