New York Public Health Now

Welcome to New York Public Health Now, where we explore the critical issues, innovations, and initiatives that shape the health and well-being of New Yorkers. If it matters to you, chances are we are talking about it.


New York Public Health Now is a conversational bi-weekly podcast with a rotating roster of passionate, front line public health specialists at the New York State Department of Health and beyond.

With each new episode, Public Health Now will talk about timely and important topics such as health equity, the opioid epidemic, respiratory viruses, maternal mortality, Medicaid recertification, climate change, air and water quality, and more. We’ll also discuss all the great work happening at the Department in places like the Wadsworth Center, New York’s world-class public health laboratory, and New York State of Health, our health insurance marketplace.


Photo of James V. McDonald, MD, MPH.

Dr. James McDonald, State Health Commissioner

As New York’s commissioner, the state’s diverse 20 million residents are served by a pediatrician at heart and an optimist by nature. A large part of his career has been spent providing care to underserved populations, including overseeing federally subsidized clinics in rural areas and health services at a Navajo reservation in Arizona. New Yorkers can expect a health commissioner and leader whose experiences have fueled his desire to tackle health care disparities on a larger scale.

"The thing about pediatricians is we can explain topics in ways that people can understand it and we are generally approachable."
"My goal is for people to understand the 'why’. If people understand the why, most people are willing to follow your 'what' (they) should do."
Photo of Johanne Morne

Johanne Morne, Executive Deputy Commissioner

Johanne brings her unique perspective and experience in health equity and minority health. Johanne’s leadership has advanced the State’s Ending the AIDS Epidemic and Hepatitis C Elimination initiatives as well as implementing essential policy changes to promote expanded access to HIV, STI and Hepatitis C prevention, treatment, and care, as well as furthering statewide harm reduction programming and LGBTQ+ service delivery.

"We have to be willing to be innovative. We have to take the experience of the tragedies we see. We have to translate that into creating spaces where intentional conversations can take place for the purpose of planning and the purpose of developing systems of care that will treat people with respect, with equality, and with a desire to improve human life and the health of the people that we serve."