HPAE Statement on the Confirmation of the First Registered Nurse to Serve as Commissioner of NJ Department of Health

(TRENTON, NJ) – Below, please find a statement from Debbie White, RN and President of Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE) on the confirmation of Judith Persichilli as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health:

“On behalf of the nearly 14,000 nurses and health professionals represented by HPAE, we applaud the NJ Senate for their vote to approve the nomination of Judith Persichilli, BSN, RN as Commissioner of Health for the State of New Jersey. Commissioner Persichilli is the first nurse to ever serve in this leading role overseeing the Department of Health. Whenever nurses, who serve on the front lines of healthcare every day, move into leadership positions, their perspective and expertise will benefit New Jersey’s patients, caregivers, and society as a whole.”

“While Ms. Persichilli has an extensive nursing career, it was her tenure as Interim CEO of University Hospital in Newark where she’s proven herself to be a forward-thinking fighter for patients and New Jersey’s most vulnerable populations in a 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 in 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 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 fully expect Commissioner Persichilli to employ her vision and expertise at the Department of Health. We look forward to working with the Commissioner and we are excited to see an experienced nurse in a leadership role overseeing NJ’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.”