As Philadelphia’s newest Health Commissioner, Dr. Cheryl Bettigole acknowledges that many of our city’s health problems are rooted in historical and present-day racism. The pandemic has highlighted how these problems worsened the effects of COVID-19, especially for communities of colorShe has committed to ensuring that issues of health equity are at the core of her work. 

 I am honored to accept this position as Health Commissioner of Philadelphia,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. “I know that this is a critical time in our city, one that we need to take advantage of in order to work to improve the health and lives of all Philadelphians.” 

 Dr. Bettigole has identified the following goals at the start of her tenure:  

  1. Work with internal and external stakeholders to develop a strong approach to racism as a public health problem, including the hiring of a Chief Racial Equity Officer and the creation of a health equity plan for the department.
  2. Build the department’s work on gun violence prevention.
  3. Improve access to primary healthcare.
  4. Build on what we have learned from the pandemic to develop updated and equity-focused preparedness and emergency response plans.
  5. Address the findings of the investigation of the Medical Examiner’s Office and the mishandling of the remains of the MOVE victims once those findings are received. 

 Dr. Bettigole is excited to build on the work that she has been doing as Acting Commissioner and implement these new priorities.