April 19, 2022—(BRONX, NY)—New York State Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett, M.D., M.P.H., will present the keynote address at Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s 2022 commencement. The ceremony will take place on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, at the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
“Dr. Bassett has advocated for public health and social justice throughout her career, prioritizing the need to improve access to care among groups that have been historically marginalized,” said Gordon F. Tomaselli, M.D., the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Einstein and executive vice president and chief academic officer at Montefiore Medicine. “Her passion for health equity matches our own, and we are honored to have her speak to our graduating physicians and scientists about her remarkable career and share her guidance.”
Dr. Bassett was appointed New York’s commissioner of health on December 1, 2021. She previously served as director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University and FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights in the department of social and behavioral sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Her passion for health equity matches our own, and we are honored to have her speak to our graduating physicians and scientists about her remarkable career and share her guidance.
Dean Gordon F. Tomaselli, M.D.
Prior to Harvard, Dr. Bassett served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, from January 2014 to August 2018. While in that role, she helped lead the national response to the Ebola virus in the United States and the city’s Legionnaire’s disease outbreaks. She was also a vocal proponent of social justice, penning a perspective piece on the health consequences of racial discrimination that ran in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Bassett was also the director for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's African Health Initiative and Child Well-Being Prevention Program, and Deputy Commissioner of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In 2017, she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine.
Early in her career, Dr. Bassett served on the medical faculty at the University of Zimbabwe and went on to serve as associate director of health equity at the Rockefeller Foundation's Southern Africa office. After returning to the United States, she served on the faculty of Columbia University, including as associate professor of clinical epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Bassett earned a B.A. in History and Science from Harvard University, an M.D. from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, and an M.P.H. from the University of Washington.