Gov. Phil Murphy intends to nominate Dr. Kaitlan Baston as the Garden State’s next health commissioner.
The July 25 announcement follows last week’s news that Judith Persichilli would step down from the post, which she has served in for four years. Baston will assume the role in August when Persichilli officially retires.
“Working alongside Gov. Murphy, whose values mirrored mine in a state I call home, and alongside the dedicated career experts in public health at the department has been a privilege these past four years,” said Persichilli. “These past few years have also taught us many lessons, perhaps most importantly to pivot and change as we move forward.
“The department is more prepared now than ever to face tomorrow’s challenges with a foundation built on resiliency, data-driven decision-making, and equity for New Jersey’s residents,” Persichilli continued. “Dr. Baston is eminently qualified to carry on the department’s critical work in tackling New Jersey’s public health crises and fulfilling its mission.”
Baston is currently the division head of addiction medicine and medical director of the Center for Healing at Cooper University — a center she founded that provides a slew of services related to integrated pain, addiction and behavioral health care. She is also an educator and consultant for Zero to Three, an organization focused on ensuring all babies and toddlers have a strong start to life, and an assistant professor of medicine at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.
The incoming health commissioner serves on a number of committees and boards and has received many awards for her work. Last year, she was recognized with an NJBIZ Health Care Hero – Innovation award.
Today’s news follows the recent announcement that Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli will retire in August. Click here to read the story.
In a press release, Murphy said he is thrilled to nominate Baston to lead the state health department.
“The department plays a vital role in protecting the public’s health, while also promoting healthy communities and constantly improving the quality of health care for all New Jerseyans,” said Murphy. “Dr. Baston’s breadth of experience as a physician, highlighted by her many leadership roles within the addictions and health care space, will make her an exceptional Commissioner at the Department of Health.”
“I am deeply grateful to Gov. Murphy for entrusting me with this opportunity to serve the people of New Jersey,” said Baston. “I have spent my career focused on addiction services, maternal and child health, and improving equity through health care in the community, and I am fully committed to using those experiences to create a healthy, equitable state for all.
“It is an honor to lead the department following the incredible work and dedication of Commissioner Persichilli during an unprecedented time in public health and I look forward to working with the team to advance the health and equity of all New Jerseyans,” she added.