Dr. Farley was appointed New York City Health Commissioner in May 2009. One of the world's oldest and largest public health agencies, the department has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and more than 6,000 staff. In recent years the agency has undertaken a number of innovative initiatives, including a comprehensive tobacco control program, the elimination of trans fats in restaurant food, a requirement for chain restaurants to post calorie information on menu boards, and development of an electronic health record.
Before joining the Agency, Dr. Farley was chair of the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. He received his MD and Master of Public Health degrees from Tulane University. Trained as a pediatrician, he served in the Centers for Disease Control's Epidemic Intelligence Service and worked for the CDC and the Louisiana Office of Public Health from 1989 to 2000. During that period he directed programs to control various infectious diseases. He has conducted research and published articles on a wide range of topics, including Legionnaires' disease, prevention of HIV/STDs, infant mortality, and obesity. Dr. Farley is coauthor with RAND Senior Scientist Deborah Cohen of Prescription for a Healthy Nation (Beacon Press). He served as Senior Adviser to New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden in 2007 and 2008.