Following Utica Visit, NYS Health Commissioner Announces Resigning
The Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health is leaving the post at the end of this year. News of her exit comes just days after her visit to Utica earlier this week.
Dr. Mary Bassett toured the new Mohawk Valley Health System's new Wynn Hospital in downtown Utica on Tuesday, and made a stop at The Center - formerly the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees.
Bassett will leave her position with New York State to rejoin the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, she announced in a statement on Friday:
I have submitted my resignation as New York State Health Commissioner effective January 1, 2023, when I will return to the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. This was a very difficult decision. I have tremendous admiration for the work our staff has done during a very difficult year responding to COVID, mpox, polio and the day-to-day challenges of protecting New Yorkers’ health.
Bassett had been in the role of commissioner since last December after being appointed by Governor Kathy Hochul. She was then confirmed by the New York State Senate in January of 2022.
During her visit to Utica, Bassett said she was impressed with all the detail that had gone into designing the new Wynn Hospital.
"...Just all the thought that goes into making a wonderful resource for health in a community - from thinking about what the doors should look like to the natural light on the floors." She continued, "This will be transformative not only because of the services it will provide, but also for the jobs it will provide. Additionally bringing lots of foot traffic downtown to provide an economic benefit for the area."
Bassett also commented on the work done at The Center, to resettle refugees from all around the globe.
"It is such a beacon of hope for people who have been - for reasons, typically outside of their control - forced to leave their homes, their livelihoods, the place they loved and lived and find a new home in Utica," Bassett said. "The center has placed a critical role in ensuring that the landing is as easy as it can be - readying apartments for them before they arrive and assist with job placement."
While in Utica, Bassett also encouraged residents to get the bivalent COVID vaccine, noting that just 30% of those over 65 had received the bivalent vaccine.