Mayor Bill de Blasio has named the new heads of the Department of Small Business Services and the Health and Hospitals Corporation, pledging to deepen each agency’s connections to neighborhoods across the five boroughs.
Mayor de Blasio appointed Maria Torres-Springer as Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services and Dr. Ramanathan Raju as Commissioner of Health and Hospitals Corporation. As public servants with deep expertise at their respective agencies, both Torres-Springer and Raju are poised to aggressively implement progressive, community-based reforms.
“We sought out progressive, proven leaders who are committed to serving diverse communities across this city. And in Maria and Raju, we found them. Whether it’s deepening our outreach to immigrant entrepreneurs long overlooked by City Hall, or bringing new community health care clinics to low-income neighborhoods, our approach will be the same: We will lift up every community. This will be one city, where everyone rises together,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
A former Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Maria Torres-Springer was a key leader in project teams that helped launch the Applied Sciences Initiative and the redevelopment of Coney Island. As Commissioner of Small Business Services, she will establish a new revolving loan fund to help local businesses grow, expand outreach to immigrant-owned businesses, and help launch new economic development hubs in underserved communities.
“As the child of immigrants, I understand our city is strongest when every New Yorker has access to quality economic opportunities and good middle class jobs,” said Torres-Springer. “As Commissioner at the Department of Small Business Services, I look forward to ensuring that every small business owner—no matter where they are from, where they live, or what they look like—has access to the resources they need to succeed.”
Currently CEO of the Chicago’s Cook County Health and Hospital System, Dr. Ramanathan Raju is a respected physician who has led some of the nation’s largest and most complex health care systems. As President of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation—the nation’s largest public hospital system—he will work to raise standards of care at HHC hospitals and deepen the agency’s approach to providing primary and preventative care at the neighborhood level. Dr. Ramanathan Raju’s appointment must be ratified by the HHC board.
“I am excited to return to the Health and Hospitals Corporation,” said incoming HHC President Ramanathan Raju. “Under my leadership, the HHC will continue its mission of ensuring New Yorkers have access to quality health care options—from major hospitals to neighborhood clinics—no matter where they live.”
About Maria Torres-Springer:
Maria Torres-Springer has a demonstrated record of expanding small business opportunities, with a history of building relationships with community, government and private businesses to support economic development projects throughout New York City.
Torres-Springer’s experience collaborating with local communities began when she worked at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a nonprofit focusing on bringing together community organizations and stakeholders with private and public resources to help revitalize neighborhoods based on locally-defined priorities.
More recently, Torres-Springer served as the Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, where she oversaw the development and implementation of more than 100 initiatives designed to support innovation and entrepreneurship across all industries.
From directing the revitalization of a 27-acre district and surrounding area in Coney Island and creating an amusement and entertainment district, to helping lead the Applied Sciences NYC initiative, spurring new applied science and engineering campuses across New York City, Torres-Springer has continually proven her commitment to creating a dynamic city economy that works for all New Yorkers. Torres-Springer has also served at the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding as a Senior Policy Advisor and as the Chief Operating Officer of Friends of the Highline.
About Dr. Ramanathan Raju:
Dr. Ramanathan Raju brings more than 30 years of experience in public and not-for-profit hospital systems.
Dr. Raju began his medical career at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, where he ascended to the positions of Director of Surgery, Director of Medical Education, and Senior Vice President. He went on to serve as the COO and Chief Medical Officer at Coney Island Hospital, and then as Chief Medical Officer, Corporate COO and Executive Vice President at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.
Most recently, he has served as CEO of Cook County Health and Hospitals System, the third largest health system in the US. He is credited with improving CCHHS’s quality of care, increasing revenues, and cutting costs by leveraging federal resources, restructuring the system’s operation, and utilizing technology to increase efficiency and make the health care system more accessible to patients.
A native of Madras (now Chennai), India, Dr. Raju received his medical degree from the Madras Medical College and was a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in the United Kingdom. He received his Masters in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee.