Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday appointed Mark Ghaly, a practicing pediatrician and director of health and social impact at the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, to head the California Health and Human Services Agency.
As HHSA secretary, Ghaly, 44, of South Pasadena, will help lead the administration's efforts to advance the governor's health care agenda, including proposals to lower prescription drug costs, provide coverage to young undocumented adults through Medi-Cal, and help put California on a path toward single-payer health care, according to Newsom.
As both a physician and an expert in public health, Ghaly brings knowledge and understanding of how individual and community health outcomes intersect with policy and law on issues like whole-person care, mental health and stage of life care, the governor said.
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"At a time when the Trump administration is systematically dismantling health care protections for American families, California is moving forward on ideas to cover more people and make health care more affordable," Newsom said. "Mark's experience, passion and vision will be instrumental in driving California to a healthier future."
Ghaly has served as director of health and social impact for Los Angeles County since 2018. He was deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services overseeing community health and integrated programs from 2011 to 2018 and medical director for the Southeast Health Center, a San Francisco Department of Public Health clinic, from 2006 to 2011.
Ghaly earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and a Master of Public Health degree in health policy from the Harvard School of Public Health.
His new position requires state Senate confirmation.
Supervisor Hilda L. Solis applauded the appointment.
"As Deputy Director for Community Health for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Dr. Ghaly oversaw innovative initiatives that helped underserved communities gain greater access to health care," she said.
Solis pointed to Ghaly's implementation of My Health L.A., which provides 140,000 previously uninsured County residents access to health care services, and his role in improving the quality of health care in the jails and in providing support services to former inmates.
"I wish Dr. Ghaly well on his State Senate confirmation process," the supervisor said. "I look forward to working with Dr. Ghaly on new and expanded state initiatives that promote the health and well-being of L.A. County residents. Thank you to Gov. Newsom for recognizing Dr. Ghaly and L.A. County's accomplishments on expanding health care access for vulnerable communities. Dr. Ghaly will serve you, your administration, and all Californians well!"