ALBANY — Dr. James McDonald, an upstate New York native, was nominated Friday by Gov. Hochul to lead the state Health Department.
McDonald has been serving as the acting commissioner of the department since Dr. Mary Bassett stepped down at the beginning of the year to resume her previous position with the Harvard Chan School of Public Health in Massachusetts.
Hochul called McDonald a “talented public health leader” who has the “skills and experience necessary” for the post as the state continues to grapple with the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and staffing shortages at hospitals.
“I am proud to nominate him to this critical role, and I look forward to working closely with him to protect the health of all New Yorkers,” the governor added.
McDonald, whose nomination must be confirmed by the state Senate, is originally from Cohoes, just north of Albany. He earned his M.D. from Loyola Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, his pediatric residency in the U.S. Navy and his preventive medicine residency from the State University of New York.
He also holds a master of public health degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and earned his B.S. in Biology from Siena College. McDonald is board certified in pediatrics as well as preventive medicine.
His brother John is a Democratic Assemblyman representing their hometown.
McDonald joined the state Department of Health in July last year and had served as the medical director of the Office of Public Health.
“I am deeply grateful to Gov. Hochul for her confidence in me, and I look forward to working closely with my Department of Health colleagues to continue to deliver for New Yorkers,” McDonald said.
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