Philadelphia officially names Dr. Cheryl Bettigole next health commissioner

Dr. Bettigole has been serving as Acting Health Commissioner since Dr. Thomas Farley resigned from the position in May.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Dr. Cheryl Bettigole has officially been named Philadelphia's health commissioner.

Bettigole has been serving as Acting Health Commissioner since Dr. Thomas Farley resigned from the position in May.



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"I am honored by this opportunity to serve our city and to further our goal of promoting and protecting the health of all Philadelphians," Dr. Bettigole said in a statement Thursday. "I look forward to continuing this work with my colleagues and our many valued partners throughout the city. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of equity, access, and the use of a data-informed approach in every aspect of public health, and I am committed to championing those priorities in the work ahead."

Bettigole has been the Director of the Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention for the City of Philadelphia's Department of Public Health since 2015.

The city says as Acting Health Commissioner, Bettigole led the city's "COVID-19 pandemic response with an emphasis on equity..." helping make "Philadelphia's vaccination rate for Black and Latino residents among the highest of large U.S. cities."

Bettigole is a board-certified family physician with a Doctor of Medicine from Thomas Jefferson University. She also holds a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University and a Master in Anthropology from the University of Chicago.

"Throughout her entire career, Dr. Bettigole has demonstrated a deep commitment to prioritizing equity, access, and prevention in public health," Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. "I'm confident that with her experience, vision, and steadfast leadership, we've found the best person to lead the Health Department as we work urgently on multiple fronts to ensure the health and wellbeing of all residents."

Dr. Ala Stanford, the founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, withdrew her name from consideration for the role this past weekend.

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Stanford said she made the decision earlier in the week during a ribbon-cutting of the new Dr. Ala Stanford Center for Health Equity (ASHE) on West Lehigh Avenue.

"I look forward to continued work with the Philadelphia Department of Health and continuing our service to the City of Philadelphia beyond COVID-19 through ASHE. We are just getting started. Thank you all for your support," said Stanford on Saturday.

Former health commissioner Thomas Farley resigned in May over the handling of remains from the 1985 MOVE bombing; it was on the day of the 36th anniversary of the bombing.

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A day after the health commissioner's resignation, Mayor Kenney announced the remains of MOVE bombing victims thought to have been cremated in 2017, under orders from Farley, were located at the medical examiner's office.

Dr. Bettigole took over as acting health commissioner immediately following Farley's resignation.
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