Benjamin K. Chu, M.D., senior associate dean at Columbia's College of Physicians & Surgeons' affiliation with Harlem Hospital Center, has been nominated by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to become president of the New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation. Bloomberg also named Ester R. Fuchs, director of the Center for Urban Research and Policy at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs and a professor at Barnard College and Columbia, to be special advisor for governance and strategic planning.
In December, Bloomberg appointed Thomas R. Frieden, a joint MD/Master of Public Health '86, on the faculty at the Mailman School of Public Health in the Department of Epidemiology, to be commissioner of the Department of Health.
"Dr. Chu brings to the job a wealth of experience in health care from the public and private sector and the academic community," Bloomberg said. "Dr. Chu will bring a broad community-wide perspective to the task of managing our public health care system."
The Corporation oversees the operations of the city's municipal hospitals in all five boroughs, providing general, chronic, ambulatory and skilled nursing care as well as a variety of specialized patient care services. Chu was previously vice president for medical and professional affairs at the Corporation.
Before joining P & S in 2000, Chu was an associate professor of clinical medicine and associate dean for clinical affairs at New York University. He has served as acting commissioner of health for the NYC Department of Health and acting executive director of Kings County Hospital. Chu has also been acting chief of the adult emergency service, chief of ambulatory care and director of the medical clinic at Kings County Hospital.
In her new role, Fuchs will assist with the development of reform initiatives for city agencies as well as advise new ways to deliver public services.
"Ester will provide invaluable input on a number of issues impacting New York City-from health to homelessness to education-and she is a welcome addition to the administration," said Bloomberg.
Fuchs is also chair of the Urban Studies Program at Columbia College and Barnard and has authored Mayors and Money: Fiscal Policy in New York and Chicago (University of Chicago, 1991). She has received grants to analyze public policy and political participation, including implementation of the National Voter Registration Act, evaluation of the federal homeless policy and political participation in New York City and New York State, and US Department of Housing and Urban Development evaluation of the federal homeless policy.
Frieden has been working for the World Health Organization in India as a medical officer on tuberculosis control. He has also been assistant commissioner at the Health Department, an adviser to the World Bank and a medical officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Tom Frieden is one of the nation's most respected experts in public health in general and epidemiology in particular," Bloomberg said. "He is the ideal appointment for Health Commissioner as we seek to reassure and protect all New Yorkers."