The Office of the Health Commissioner sets policy and provides leadership for the Department of Public Health. We work closely with other human service providers in Philadelphia to assure high-quality healthcare services for all.
James W. Buehler, MD, is Health Commissioner for the City of Philadelphia. Before joining the Department of Public Health, he was a Professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy at the Drexel University School of Public Health, where his interests in public health systems and services research centered on the uses of population health information in public health practice, connections between healthcare and public health services, and the population health applications of health information automation.
Previously, Dr. Buehler served as the Director of the Public Health Surveillance & Informatics Program Office at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. This Office managed several nationwide population health monitoring systems, including the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and the BioSense 2.0 syndromic surveillance system. The Office was also the focal point at CDC for addressing cross-cutting issues in public health surveillance and informatics, most notably the public health opportunities arising from the growing use of electronic health records.
From 1981 through 2002, Dr. Buehler was a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Public Health Service at CDC, where he worked in a variety of areas, including general field epidemiology, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, STD, and TB prevention, and, briefly in in the Fall of 2001, anthrax. In 2002, he joined the faculty of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University as a Research Professor in the Epidemiology Department, where he also served as a consultant to Georgia’s state health department. In 2009, he returned to CDC to contribute to the national response to H1N1 pandemic influenza.
Dr. Buehler is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the School of Medicine of the University of California at San Francisco. He is board-certified in Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine.
Caroline C. Johnson
Interim Deputy Health Commissioner
Caroline C. Johnson, MD, is serving in the role of Interim Deputy Health Commissioner following appointment in July 2015. Previously, she had been the Director of the Division of Disease Control for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health for 11 years. Dr. Johnson manages departmental divisions addressing: maternal and child health; chronic disease prevention; childhood lead poisoning prevention; disease surveillance and control; environmental health services, air quality, the public health laboratory, and the Medical Examiner’s office. Before joining the Department of Public Health, Dr. Johnson worked as an Infectious Disease physician and researcher at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia VA Medical Center.
Dr. Johnson is a graduate of the University of Maryland Medical School, and did post-graduate training in Boston and Los Angeles. She is Board-certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. Her areas of special interest are child and adolescent health, epidemiology, and health risk communication.
Deputy Commissioner for Finance and Administration
Tara Mohr is the Deputy Commissioner for Finance and Administration for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. In this position, she oversees a complex budget of approximately $335 million (FY13) for the Department's ten operating divisions. Tara first joined the City's Office of Emergency Shelter and Services (currently known as the Office of Supportive Housing) in 2001 working as an intern, and was subsequently hired as a Special Projects Coordinator, a position she held until 2004. After a brief absence from the City of Philadelphia, she returned to the Managing Director's Office in 2005 to assist with overseeing the implementation of contract reform. In 2008, Tara assumed leadership on contract reform and worked to standardize contract policies and procedures across all City departments. In August 2011, she joined the Department of Public Health as a Special Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner for Finance and Administration, and was promoted to Deputy Commissioner in August 2012. Tara has a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Planning and a bachelor's degree in Sociology from Rice University (Houston, Texas).
Director of Policy and Planning
Giridhar Mallya, MD, MHSP, has been the Director of Policy and Planning for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health since October 2008. In this position, Dr. Mallya helps to define public health priorities for the City, coordinates the Department’s research and data analysis activities, and works with key leadership—including the Board of Health and the Air Pollution Control Board—to set policies and develop regulations. He is also the Primary Investigator for Philadelphia’s CDC-funded Communities Putting Prevention to Work Tobacco Policy & Control and Nutrition & Physical Activity initiatives.
Dr. Mallya graduated from Brown University Medical School in Providence, RI, and completed a residency in Family and Community Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Following residency, Dr. Mallya was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania where he received a Masters Degree in Health Policy Research.
Chief of Staff and Director in the Office of Health and Opportunity
Jane Baker has been with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health for over 17 years and assumed the role of Chief of Staff in November 2014. She also serves as a Director in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity. Jane is responsible for the coordination of HR administration for four City departments (Health, Human Services, Behavioral Health, Homeless Services), and is responsible for internal customer service for the department (HR, IT, communications, facilities management, and contract compliance for Philadelphia Nursing Home). Jane advises the Deputy Mayor and the Health Commissioner on a broad range of policy and legislative issues and serves as the Departmental Integrity Officer.
Previously, Jane served as the Director of the PDPH’s AIDS Activities Coordinating Office (AACO), where she managed over $48 million annually in combined federal, state and local funds. She was responsible for overseeing the Philadelphia EMA (eligible metropolitan areas) HIV/AIDS care and prevention services, including the city’s surveillance activities. Jane has a master's degree from LaSalle University in clinical psychology and a bachelor's degree from Drexel University also in psychology.