NJ Governor Appoints Acting Health Commissioner

Christopher Rinn had been assistant commissioner. He replaces Cathleen D. Bennett, who became president and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association on Nov. 9.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie last week appointed Christopher Rinn as acting state Health Commissioner. Rinn, who had been assistant commissioner, replaces Cathleen D. Bennett, whom the governor thanked for her public health and health care accomplishments. "During Commissioner Bennett's tenure, the department achieved public health accreditation, opened adoption records dating back to the 1940s, coordinated health policies across eight departments through the Population Health Action Team, funded pediatric autism medical homes, and successfully integrated the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services into the agency from the Department of Human Services," Christie said. "We will miss her expertise and wish her well as she moves on to become president and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association."

The department's branches are Public Health Services, Health Systems, Integrated Health, the Office of Population Health, and the Office of Policy and Strategic Planning. Rinn joined the department in 2010 as assistant commissioner of the Division of Public Health Infrastructure, Laboratories, and Emergency Preparedness. He became acting commissioner on Nov. 9

"I'm honored to be appointed acting health commissioner and I look forward to continuing the progress the department has made in key public health priorities,” he said. According to Christie's office, Rinn has more than 28 years of experience in public health, health care, and emergency services, and he coordinated the department's emergency response to "Superstorm" Sandy, Ebola, Super Bowl XLVIII, and Pope Francis' visit to the area. He managed a $101 million budget, including the Office of Emergency Medical Services, which oversees more than 30,000 EMS providers; the EMS Task Force; the Office of Local Public Health; the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Operations; and the Public Health and Environmental Laboratories, which conduct 5 million tests a year and include a bioterrorism lab.

He was Jersey City Medical Center's executive director of emergency medical services and governmental affairs and an EMT/paramedic before joining the department.

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