Mary Bassett and Leadership of FXB Center

Mary Bassett

Dear Members of the Harvard Chan School Community,

I write to share the news that Mary T. Bassett, director of Harvard’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, will be taking a leave of absence from Harvard Chan School starting December 1 to assume the position of commissioner of health of the State of New York under Governor Kathy Hochul. In this exciting new role, Mary will lead the state’s pandemic response while advocating for the well-being of New York State residents and working to close population health gaps. This is a homecoming on multiple levels: A New York City native, Mary also served as New York City’s health commissioner from 2014 to 2018 before joining us here at Harvard Chan School.

Natalia Linos, currently the FXB Center’s executive director, has agreed to serve as acting director during Mary’s leave, and I have every confidence she will continue to grow and strengthen the center’s work and outreach.

I am extremely proud of all that the FXB Center has accomplished under Mary’s unparalleled leadership, with Natalia as her co-pilot on many of the new initiatives, and I look forward to witnessing the center’s continued and growing impact. Although we will greatly miss Mary’s strong vision, deep understanding of public health policy, and fierce commitment to equity, we know that these attributes will serve her well in her new role heading New York State’s Department of Health, where she will lead an agency that harnesses the expertise of more than 5,000 colleagues to advocate for the welfare of more than 19 million residents. All of them could not be in better hands.

Please join me in congratulating Mary and wishing her well as she returns to her home state to further her extraordinary career in public health service and leadership.



Michelle A. Williams, ScD
Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Angelopoulos Professor in Public Health and International Development,
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School