Director, Health AIDS Institute
Dan O’Connell is the director of the department’s Health AIDS Institute. Over the past 27 years he has served in a variety of positions within the Institute, including the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, the Substance Abuse Initiative, and the Bureau of HIV Counseling and Testing. For many years O’Connell was deputy director and then director of the Division of HIV Prevention. Just prior to being appointed as the AIDS Institute director in 2013, O’Connell was the Institute’s deputy director for HIV, STD and hepatitis C prevention and epidemiology, where in addition to disease-specific programs he also oversaw initiatives for LGBT and drug user health. He is now responsible for overall Institute-wide management and policy development, and has recently led efforts to implement New York’s revised HIV and surveillance law as well as both HIV and HCV testing laws, enacting a comprehensive modernization of the state’s STD control statute, and facilitating initial discussions and planning that resulted in a governor-endorsed effort to bring HIV below epidemic levels in the state by 2020. In addition, he chairs the New York State’s Interagency Task Force on HIV/AIDS, is an executive committee member of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors and has been an invited presenter at numerous meetings nationwide, including for the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/ AIDS. O’Connell’s work in hepatitis was recently recognized by the White House during its World Hepatitis Day observance.
Director, Wadsworth Center
As deputy director since September 2005, interim director since August 2012 and director since May 2014, Dr. Jill Taylor is guiding the Wadsworth Center’s future research directions and advancing its mission in population health. As the only research-intensive public health laboratory in the nation, the Wadsworth Center strives to set the standards to which other public health laboratories aspire. As a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the CDC’s Office of Infectious Diseases, Taylor also contributes to policy discussions at the national level. Day-to-day she ensures the efficient management of the Wadsworth Center by working closely with senior administrative and scientific staff in the laboratories, as well as with executive staff within the Health Department. Taylor first joined the Wadsworth Center in 1986 as a research affiliate in a laboratory focused on research on vaccinia virus. In 1990 she joined Virogenetics, where she was responsible for the successful development of three poxvirus-based recombinant vaccine vectors for veterinary use. She rejoined Wadsworth in 1999 as director of the Viral Genotyping Laboratory, where she oversaw clinical research studies of HIV drug resistance and hepatitis C virus. In 2002 she was appointed director of a newly formed clinical virology program, where she assumed broad responsibility for introducing molecular technologies to ensure responsiveness to the state’s changing public health needs, with particular emphasis on influenza virus.
Medicaid Director, State of New York
Jason Helgerson became New York’s Medicaid director on Jan. 5, 2011. With an annual budget in excess of $54 billion, New York’s Medicaid programprovidesvitalhealthcareservicestoover 5.3 million New Yorkers. As a clinical associate professor at the State University of New York at Albany, School of Public Health, Helgerson also serves as the executive director for New York’s Medicaid Redesign Team. In this capacity he leads Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s effort to reshape the state’s Medicaid program so as to lower costs and improve healthcare quality. Prior to arriving in New York, Helgerson was Wisconsin’s Medicaid director. The principal project sponsor for BadgerCare Plus, former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle’s signature healthcare initiative, Helgerson administered the nationally recognized program for children and families—through which 98 percent of Wisconsin residents have access to affordable healthcare, including all children—among other programs. From February 2005 to March 2007 Helgerson served as executive assistant/policy director to the secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS). Prior to joining DHFS, he served as the executive assistant for the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Jason served as the senior education policy advisor for Mayor Ron Gonzales of the City of San Jose, Calif., before joining the Doyle administration.
Director, Office of Health Disparities Prevention
Yvonne Graham is an associate commissioner with New York State Department of Health, and serves as director of the Office of Health Disparities Prevention, where she is responsible for working with Health Department programs to ensure that everyone—regardless of ethnic or racial background or the community in which they live—has access to the resources and services they need to be healthy. Prior to assuming this role, Graham was the deputy borough president of Brooklyn, where she served for 10 years alongside Borough President Marty Markowitz, with primary responsibility for health policy and all human services. Among her major accomplishments are: the co-founding of the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center, which is working to reduce health disparities among minorities and new immigrants through clinical and community-based research, education, outreach and training; the Brooklyn Community Transformation Coalition, established to respond to the structural and systemic factors that undermine well-being; the Brooklyn Public Health Funding Task force, which advocates for equity in funding for healthcare; and the Brooklyn Young Women’s Leadership Initiative, which serves as a pipeline for women’s advancement. Graham also founded and was executive director of the Caribbean Women’s Health Association (CWHA), a community-based organization that provides comprehensive, culturally sensitive healthcare, as well as immigration and social support services to diverse communities. During her tenure Graham grew CWHA’s budget from $82,000 in the early years to $6.5 million. She is a registered nurse.
Executive Director, NY State of Health
Donna Frescatore is executive director of NY State of Health, the state’s official Health Plan Marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act. Frescatore has over 25 years of experience designing and administering public and private health insurance programs. Prior to being executive director of NY State of Health, she was assistant deputy secretary of health in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office. She has also served as the state’s Medicaid director and deputy commissioner of the Office of Health Insurance Programs at the state Health Department. She began her state career in the Department of Civil Service, where she was responsible for purchasing benefits for the more than one million employees and retirees of state and local governments enrolled in the New York State Employees Health Insurance Program.
Deputy Commissioner, Office of Primary Care and Health Systems Management
Dan Sheppard is the state Health Department’s deputy commissioner for the Office of Primary Care and Health Systems Management (OPCHSM). The office oversees New York’s healthcare facilities and providers, and ensures access to high quality, affordable and equitable healthcare services for all state residents. OPCHSM’s core functions include healthcare policy and standards development; data analysis and health services research; healthcare facility planning, financing and licensure; healthcare workforce development; oversight of graduate medical education; and implementation of federal and state healthcare system reform. As deputy commissioner, Sheppard is responsible for managing more than 800 staff members in central offices and three regional offices across the state, and overseeing the licensure, certification, surveillance and compliance of more than 7,000 healthcare providers. Sheppard also oversees the establishment of policies and regulations to assist the healthcare system transition toward clinically integrated, patient-centered models of care that emphasize primary care and prevention. Prior to joining the department, Sheppard served as deputy budget director with the state Division of the Budget.
Deputy Commissioner, Office of Public Health, New York State Department of Health
Dr. Guthrie Birkhead, the deputy commissioner responsible for all public health programs at the New York State Department of Health, is DOH’s chief public health physician, and directs the Office of Public Health. He is responsible for over 2,000 staff members, an annual budget of over $2 billion and more than 100 discrete public health program areas. In 2007 and again in 2012 Birkhead led the development of the state’s public health improvement plan, the Prevention Agenda Toward the Healthiest State. He is also leading DOH’s efforts at performance management/quality improvement, introducing quality improvement approaches to public health programs. Birkhead is the author and co-author of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and is a professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health, University at Albany.
Director, Health Facility Management Group
David Hernandez is the director of the Health Facility Management Group for the state Department of Health. He oversees, advises and supports patient care, research, capital construction and fiscal management of the five department-operated healthcare facilities. This includes management and policy direction for Helen Hayes Rehabilitation Hospital and the New York State Veterans Nursing Homes at Batavia, Montrose, Oxford and St. Albans. As director Hernandez works closely with the administrators and chief executive officers of these facilities to enhance and assess the effectiveness of programs in clinical, research and education. He also serves as representative and liaison for the facilities with federal and state agencies on many fronts, including grant funding, program operations and construction. He previously served as deputy director for administration and chief financial officer for the New York State Capital District Psychiatric Center for eight years.
Director, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement
Terence O’Leary serves as the director of the New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (BNE), which is charged with enforcing New York State’s controlled substance laws. BNE investigators, located in six regional offices, annually conduct approximately 1,000 investigations into the violations of New York State’s Controlled Substance Act. BNE also oversees New York State’s Official Prescription Program, providing all forge-proof prescription pads to all medical practitioners throughout the state as well as administering New York State’s Prescription Monitoring Program Registry. BNE also issues over 1,300 licenses annually to institutions, pharmacies, manufacturers and distributors conducting various activities with controlled substances.
O’Leary assisted in drafting legislation on behalf of the Governor’s Office and Department of Health, including I-STOP/Prescription Drug Reform legislation, heroin/opioid laws of 2014 and the New York State Compassionate Care Act authorizing the medical use of marijuana in New York State. As director O’Leary oversees the implementation of I-STOP legislation, the updated Prescription Monitoring Program Registry and the implementation of New York State’s Medical Marijuana Program. From 2001 through 2011 he served as an assistant district attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where he was assigned to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York.