Dr. Howard Zucker to Join State Health Department as First Deputy Commissioner of Health

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 13, 2013) – Dr. Howard Zucker, professor of Clinical Anesthesiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, will join the New York State Department of Health in September as First Deputy Commissioner of Health, State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., announced today.

In this newly created position, Dr. Zucker will have various responsibilities and areas of focus, including DOH's preparedness and response initiatives in natural disasters and emergencies. He will also lead the Department's efforts regarding issues that affect New York City, and will work closely with the New York City Department of Health and other health-related entities. Dr. Zucker will be based in New York City and will report to Commissioner Shah.

"I am most excited to be joining the State Health Department and to be working, under the leadership of Commissioner Shah, with extremely talented health professionals in all disciplines of public health and medicine," Dr. Zucker said. "The delivery of first-rate health care is the foundation upon which I step into this role, and I am dedicated to doing my absolute best in addressing the concerns of all New Yorkers."

Dr. Zucker is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law School, where he teaches biosecurity law, and senior advisor in the Division of Global Health and Human Rights at Massachusetts General Hospital.

"We are fortunate and honored to have someone with Dr. Zucker's depth and breadth of experience joining the State Health Department team," Dr. Shah said. "His talent, knowledge and unwavering commitment to improving the health of individuals make him uniquely qualified for this important role."

His vast experience in public policy began as a White House Fellow under then-Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. Subsequently he became the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health where he developed the nation's Medical Reserve Corps, which today is run by the U.S. Surgeon General and includes more than 200,000 volunteers across nearly 1000 programs. Dr. Zucker has also been an Institute of Politics Resident Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School.

In addition, Dr. Zucker is recognized internationally for his work to advance global health. In his capacity as senior advisor in the Division of Global Health and Human Rights at Massachusetts General Hospital, he leads a team of experts in developing a community peace index, a research initiative aimed at identifying the effectiveness of peace intervention programs in countries impacted by war, political strife and economic instability.

Previously, he served as Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) in charge of the Health Technology & Pharmaceuticals cluster. In this capacity, Dr. Zucker was the highest ranked American at the WHO and spearheaded efforts to globally combat counterfeit medicines. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Council for Emerging National Security Affairs, and was a "high-level expert" on public health for NATO.

While working on a public-private partnership with an educational technology company, he developed The Afghan Family Health Book, a health literacy project that has educated millions of women in Afghanistan. Dr. Zucker has traveled to China and Haiti on medical missions and has spoken extensively throughout the United States on national health policy issues as well as internationally on global health challenges.

Dr. Zucker received his B.S. degree from McGill University. As a student at McGill, he helped design zero-gravity medical experiments that ultimately were conducted aboard several Space Shuttle missions. Today, he serves on the Board of Directors of the nongovernmental organization that oversees the U.S. National Lab on the International Space Station.

At age 22, he earned his M.D. from George Washington University School of Medicine, becoming one of America's youngest doctors. He trained in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Hospital, anesthesiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, pediatric critical care medicine/pediatric anesthesiology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and pediatric cardiology at Children's Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Zucker has served as Assistant Professor at Yale University Medical School; Associate Professor at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons; Research Affiliate in the Man Vehicle Laboratory at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, formerly known as the Center for Space Research; and on the clinical faculty at the National Institutes of Health. He was Pediatric Director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at New York-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.

Dr. Zucker holds a J.D. from Fordham University Law School and a LL.M. from Columbia Law School. He is a former ABC World News' Person of the Week and Columbia University Pediatrics Teacher of the Year. He has been listed in Best Doctors in America as well as Who's Who in the World, and is a member of the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court.