Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Indian-American Dr. Dave A. Chokshi as Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The appointment was made public Aug. 4, 2020.
Dr. Chokshi has served at the highest level of local, state, and federal health agencies, including NYC Health + Hospitals, where he was in senior leadership roles over the past six years.
As Chief Population Health Officer, Dr. Chokshi’s team transformed healthcare delivery for over one million New Yorkers, said a press release from the Mayor’s office.
Most recently, he served as a key leader in the City’s COVID-19 response.
“Dr. Chokshi has spent his career fighting for those too often left behind,” Mayor de Blasio is quoted saying in the press release. “Never has that been more true than during the COVID-19 pandemic, where he has helped lead our City’s public health system under unprecedented challenges. I know he’s ready to lead the charge forward in our fight for a fairer and healthier city for all,” the Mayor added.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our City’s response in the face of a once-in-a-lifetime public health crisis,” said Dr. Chokshi. “I’m honored to serve the people of New York City with the extraordinary team at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Together, we will emerge from this pandemic as a stronger, fairer, and healthier city.”
A graduate of Harvard Medical School (2009-2012) and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (2005-2009), Dr. Chokshi comes to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene with a wealth of experience in public health, clinical medicine, and health policy, the Mayor’s office noted. He also has an Master of Science degree in Global Public Health and Comparative Health Policy from University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.
Raised in Baton Rouge as the son of immigrants, Dr. Chokshi served at the Louisiana Department of Health before and after Hurricane Katrina, with a focus on reshaping the State’s healthcare system in the wake of the storm.
Dr. Chokshi served as a White House Fellow in the Obama Administration and was the principal health advisor to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. In 2016, President Obama appointed him to the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health. Dr. Chokshi did clinical work in Guatemala, Peru, Botswana, Ghana, and India during his medical training.
Dr. Chokshi will continue his clinical practice at Bellevue Hospital, where he has taken care of patients as a primary care physician since 2014, the press release said.
Dr. Chokshi served on the FEMA delegation to New York City after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, coordinating with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on a door-knocking initiative to bring food and medication to stranded seniors in high rises across hard-hit areas of the city.
As Special Advisor to New York City Health Commissioner Tom Farley, Dr. Chokshi contributed to the City’s response to opioid addiction, obesity, and disease prevention in 2011.
“For the last 15 years, I have seen Dr. Chokshi touch the lives of patients and communities in profound ways as a physician and public health leader,” said Former Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Vivek Murthy. “He is of a rare breed of leaders who combine brilliance and strong judgement with humility and compassion. These qualities and his unfailing moral compass will serve New York City well as it faces the COVID19 pandemic and longstanding public health challenges. In Dr. Chokshi, New York has found a leader worthy of its trust and support,” Dr. Murthy added.
Dr. Chokshi lives in Jackson Heights, Queens, with his wife, an educator in New York City public schools, and 14-month-old daughter.