New York State Department of Health Executive Wins National Award for Public Health Achievements

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 02, 2015) – The New York State Department of Health (DOH) today announced that Sylvia Pirani, M.P.H., M.S. has received the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials' (ASTHO) 2015 State Excellence in Public Health Award.

The award recognizes outstanding service on behalf of the public health community at the state level and was presented at the 2015 ASTHO Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, on September 30.

"I am delighted to see that Sylvia Pirani is receiving national recognition for all the great public health work she has done for New York State," said Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker. "Her leadership, commitment and innovation has benefitted New York in so many ways. This ASTHO award is an acknowledgment of all she does for our communities on an ongoing basis."

Ms. Pirani joined DOH in 1994 as coordinator of the Making the Grade initiative to expand school-based health centers. Since 2007, she has served as the Director of the Department's Office of Public Health Practice. The office coordinates services and state funding to New York's 58 local health departments, as well as the Department's public health data analysis and dissemination efforts, performance management and quality improvement programs, and public health workforce development.

Most recently, Ms. Pirani was the driving force behind the development of the NYS Prevention Agenda 2013-2017, the five-year state health improvement plan to make New York the healthiest state in the nation. The Prevention Agenda set five priorities: to prevent chronic disease; promote healthy and safe environments; promote the health of women, infants and children; promote mental health and prevent substance abuse; and prevent HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, vaccine-preventable diseases and health care associated infections.

The Prevention Agenda has been integrated into the State's Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program and the State Innovation Model (SIM) grant from the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Both initiatives contain population health components drawn from the Prevention Agenda.

Ms. Pirani also spearheaded the Department's efforts to attain national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board, a two-year process that involved multiple steps. In 2014, DOH became the largest entity to achieve accreditation and only the sixth state agency to do so.

Ms. Pirani has a bachelor of arts in political science from Barnard College. She also has a master of science in urban planning and a master of public health from Columbia University.