ALBANY — Dr. James McDonald, a native of upstate New York, was nominated Friday by Governor Hochul to head the state Department of Health.
McDonald has served as the department’s acting commissioner since Dr. Mary Bassett resigned earlier this year to resume her previous position at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health in Massachusetts.
Hochul called McDonald a “talented public health leader” who has the “necessary skills and experience” for the role as the state continues to grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and hospital staffing shortages.
“I am proud to nominate him for this critical position and look forward to working closely with him to protect the health of all New Yorkers,” added the Governor.
McDonald, whose appointment must be confirmed by the state Senate, is originally from Cohoes, north of Albany. He earned his MD from the Loyola Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, his pediatrics residency at the US Navy, and his preventive medicine residency at the State University of New York.
He also has a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Siena College. McDonald’s is board certified in pediatrics and preventive medicine.
His brother John is a Democratic Assemblyman representing his hometown.
McDonald joined the state Department of Health in July of last year and served as medical director for the Office of Public Health.
“I am deeply grateful to Governor Hochul for her confidence in me, and I look forward to working closely with my colleagues at the Department of Health to continue serving New Yorkers,” McDonald said.