Judy Persichilli was officially nominated by Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday as state health commissioner at a ceremony in Trenton.
Persichilli will be the first nurse to hold the post. She will replace Dr. Shereef Elnahal who will take over as president and chief executive officer of University Hospital in Newark on July 22, where Persichilli has been acting president and CEO since last December.
“I can’t thank you enough Gov. Murphy, for allowing me to participate in your agenda for the health of New Jersey. It’s an agenda that sees health as the foundation of a stronger state,” said Persichilli.
“I have seen first-hand the impact that social determinants have on health. When your zip code determines your destiny more than your genetic code. Governor, you and Dr. Elnahal have laid the foundation for New Jersey to reclaim its premier position as one of the most innovative and responsive states.”
“Governor my sincere gratitude for giving me this opportunity and along with you and your cabinet I look forward to doing the best that I can for the most that I can for as long as I can.”
Murphy praised Persichilli as a nurse, administrator and someone who has been intimately involved in health care policy at nearly every level.
“Judy brings a long and career of insight and practical experience to one of our state’s most critical jobs,” said Murphy.
Debbie White, president of Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE) applauded Murphy’s appointment of Persichilli.
“Whenever nurses who serve on the frontlines of health care delivery and patient care every day, move into leadership positions, that can only benefit New Jersey’s residents, families, and society as a whole,” said White.
“While Ms. Persichilli boasts an impressive resume over the length of her nursing career, we recently gained even more respect for her in her current role as interim CEO at University Hospital in Newark where she’s proven herself to be a forward-thinking fighter for patients and New Jersey’s most vulnerable populations at this safety net hospital.”
White said that she looks forward to working with Persichilli as commissioner of health, and to how she will bring her professional skills and leadership to New Jersey’s health care systems.
“This is indeed a historic day for New Jersey’s nurses and health professionals. We have every confidence that Ms. Persichilli will bring the proper oversight needed to ensure patients have access to quality care and services – ranging from primary care services to advanced lifesaving treatments across the state,” said White.
Cathy Bennett, president and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association, said that the nomination of Persichilli by the governor was an “excellent choice.”
“Judy Persichilli started her career as an RN at the bedside caring for patients. She remained true to that commitment as she became CEO at St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton, Catholic Health East and more recently, interim CEO at University Hospital,” said Bennett.
“In each position, she met the challenge not only of strong leadership and sound management, but she did so while never losing her focus on the patients, the community and the most vulnerable. That compassion is backed up by a strong grip on the complexities of healthcare today and a vision for healthcare’s future. On behalf of the NJHA Board, we look forward to working with Judy to improve the health of the people of New Jersey,” Bennett concluded.
Persichilli is president emerita, CHE Trinity Health and she previously served as the interim president and chief executive officer of CHE Trinity Health. Prior to that, she was president and CEO of Catholic Health East and served for eight years as CEO at St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton.