Board of Health Meetings
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New York City Board of Health Members – 2015
Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH
Commissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Chair of the Board of Health.
Pamela S. Brier, MPH
President and CEO of Maimonides Medical Center and a current member of the Board of Health.
Sixto R. Caro, MD
Member of the Board of Health and operates a private practice.
Joel A. Forman, M.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinan School of Medicine and serves on the Board of Health.
Susan Klitzman, DrPH, MPH, CPH
Senior Associate Dean for Administration and Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at CUNY School of Public Health in addition to her membership on the Board of Health.
Deepthiman K. Gowda, MD, MPH
Director of Foundations of Clinical Medicine, Director of Clinical Practice, Program in Narrative Medicine and an associate professor of medicine at CUMC Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in addition to his membership on the Board of Health.
Lynne D. Richardson, MD, FACEP
The Vice Chair of the Board of Health while also serving as a researcher at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Gail B. Nayowith, MSW
Medical consultant in addition to being a member on the Board of Health.
Ramanathan Raju, MD
President of the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation as well a member on the Board of Health.
Rosa M. Gil, DSW
President and CEO of Communilife, Inc. in addition to serving on the Board of Health.
Karen B. Redlener, MS
Executive Director Children's Health Fund & Community Pediatric Programs of Montefiore Health System as well as a member of the Board of Health.
History: From Typhus to Trans Fat
Yellow Fever was plaguing New York City when the Board of Health held its first meeting in 1805. Led by Mayor De Witt Clinton, the board evacuated stricken neighborhoods and started collecting mortality statistics, to "furnish data for reflection and calculation." Yellow Jack swept the city for the last time in 1822, but cholera, typhus and tuberculosis persisted, fueled by crowding and a lack of sanitation.
Everything changed in 1866, when the New York State Legislature expanded the Board and insulated it from political influence by setting aside seats for physicians and scientists. Newly empowered, the Board decreed that "neither hogs nor goats [could] run at large in our city" and pressured landlords to maintain their buildings. Cholera deaths promptly fell by 90 percent.
The 11-member Board of Health remains a vital force today. Most members - appointed by the Mayor with the consent of the City Council - serve six-year terms. Each Board member is a recognized expert, and the group represents a broad range of health and medical disciplines. They serve without pay and, like judges, cannot be dismissed without cause. As the overseer of New York City's Health Code, the Board has enacted countless measures to improve the wellbeing of New Yorkers over the years - including a ban on interior lead paint, modern tuberculosis control provisions and, more recently, a plan for eliminating trans fat from restaurants.