Statement of Debbie White, RN and President On the Appointment of Judith Persichilli as Commissioner of NJ Department of Health

On behalf of the 13,000 nurses and health professionals represented by HPAE, we applaud Governor Phil Murphy’s appointment of Judith Persichilli, BSN, RN as the next Commissioner of Health for the State of New Jersey – the first nurse to ever hold this important job. Whenever nurses –who serve on the frontlines of healthcare delivery and patient care every day —move into leadership positions, that can only benefit New Jersey’s residents, families, and society as a whole,

While Ms. Persichilli boasts an impressive resume over the length of her nursing career, we recently gained even more respect for her in her current role as interim CEO at University Hospital in Newark – where she’s proven herself to be a forward-thinking fighter for patients and New Jersey’s most vulnerable populations at this safety net hospital.

Ms. Persichilli, initially appointed as University Hospital’s healthcare monitor by the prior Commissioner of Health, identified an urgent need to protect public health services and create financial stability to protect the future of New Jersey’s only public acute-care hospital in the state. Ms. Persichilli provided a vision for the future and strong leadership for the hospital. The report produced by Ms. Persichilli during her term as University Hospital’s appointed monitor was a comprehensive analysis identifying many deficiencies in the facility and recommendations to improve clinical conditions and patient outcomes.  Ms. Persichilli also restored pediatric services and began working with the Board of Directors to develop a Strategic Plan to restore its mission to the community and the state.

As nurses and health professionals, we look forward to working with Judith Persichilli as Commissioner of Health and look forward to how she will bring her professional skills and leadership to New Jersey ’s healthcare systems.  This is indeed a historic day for New Jersey’s nurses and health professionals. We have every confidence that Ms. Persichilli will bring the proper oversight needed to ensure patients have access to quality care and services – ranging from primary care services to advanced lifesaving treatments across the state.