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.
Thomas Farley, MD, MPH
Thomas Farley, MD, MPH, is a physician trained in pediatrics and epidemiology who has worked in a variety of roles in public health. In 2015, he was the CEO of The Public Good Projects, a nonprofit organization that uses messages in the mass media to combat the nation’s greatest health problems. From 2009 to 2014 Dr. Farley was the Health Commissioner for New York City. In those years, he advocated for innovative public health policies, including making the city’s parks and beaches smoke-free, prohibiting price discounting of cigarettes, raising the legal sales age of tobacco to 21, capping the portion size of sugary drinks sold in restaurants at 16 ounces, and restricting the burning of air-polluting fuels to heat buildings.
Before joining the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Agency, Dr. Farley was chair of the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Trained as a pediatrician, he served in the Centers for Disease Control's Epidemic Intelligence Service and worked for the CDC and the Louisiana Office of Public Health from 1989 to 2000. During that period, Dr. Farley directed programs to control various infectious diseases. He has conducted research and published articles on a wide range of topics, including Legionnaires' disease, prevention of HIV/STDs, infant mortality, and obesity.Dr. Farley is coauthor of Prescription for a Healthy Nation (Beacon Press) with RAND Senior Scientist Deborah Cohen and author of Saving Gotham, A Billionaire Mayor, Activist Doctors, and the Fight for 8 Million Lives (W.W. Norton).
Chief of Staff
Jane Baker was appointed Chief of Staff for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health in July 2014. Baker has served in the Department for 19 years, most recently as Chief of Staff and Director for the Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity. In these roles, Baker was responsible for administrative coordination in four City departments (Health, Human Services, Behavioral Health, and Homeless Services), where she oversaw Human Resources, Information Technology services, and management of customer services.
Within the Department of Public Health, Baker currently oversees the support services in the Office of the Health Commissioner, contract compliance for Philadelphia Nursing Home, and department communications, facilities management, and performance management. She advises the Health Commissioner on a broad range of policy and legislative issues, and also serves as the Health Department’s Integrity Officer. Baker has a graduate degree in Clinical Psychology from LaSalle University.
Chief Operating Officer
Sami Jarrah, MPH, has served as the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Chief Operating Officer since July 2016. In this role, Jarrah serves as a Deputy Commissioner and leads the agency’s finance, budget, contracts, grants, and information technology functions. He also advises the Health Commissioner on a broad range of policy and operational issues, and represents the department to internal and external partners.
Before joining the City of Philadelphia, Jarrah served as Deputy Director for Integrated Clinical Services at the Multnomah County Health Department in Portland, Oregon. In this role, Jarrah directed programs and advocated for policies that increased access to health services for low-income, refugee, and undocumented immigrant communities; reduced recidivism for inmates; and increased collaboration between public health and health care systems.
Jarrah has served on multiple boards and committees, including for the National Association of Community Health Centers, the American Public Health Association, and the Oregon Public Health Institute, among others. He has published articles on a range of health policy topics, and in 2016 earned the Geiger Gibson Leadership Award from the Milken Institute School of Public Health in Washington, DC. Jarrah earned his undergraduate degree from Davidson College, and his MPH from the University of Washington.
Caroline C. Johnson
Acting Deputy Health Commissioner
Caroline C. Johnson, MD, is serving in the role of Acting 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.
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.