Corbett names NY health official to cabinet post

Gov.-elect Tom Corbett has named a New York public health official to lead Pennsylvania's Department of Health.

Corbett said today he will nominate Eli Avila, now the chief deputy commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, to his cabinet as health secretary.

In his current role, which he has held since May 2010, Avila, 51, oversees 1,600 employees and a budget of $400 million. If confirmed by the state Senate Avila, in his new role, will oversee an agency with 1,700 employees and a  budget of $1 billion.

Avila holds a medical degree from Brown University, a law degree from St. John’s University and a master’s degree in public health from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine of New York University.

Avila, who is Hispanic, is the first minority that Corbett has named to his cabinet.

Before assuming his current job, Avila served as a physician with the New York Department of Health and Human Services’ Federal Occupational Health Service and as Senior Examining Occupational Medicine Physician for all federal agencies in the region. He has trained in internal medicine, ophthalmology, occupational and environmental medicine, and is also a practicing attorney and public health professional. In addition, he practiced law in New York City for an environmental biotechnology company.

“Eli Avila’s expansive education and experience as an executive, a doctor and a lawyer will serve him well in this new endeavor,” Corbett said. “His expertise and leadership will be a valuable resource to the Corbett-Cawley administration and to the people of Pennsylvania.”

As health secretary Avila will oversee the coordination of health resources in Pennsylvania, as well as the regulation of hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities. He also will direct the promotion of a wide range of health programs and services. 


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