Former New York City Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett joins CSPI Board of Directors

Former New York City Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett Joins CSPI Board of Directors

Former New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett has been elected to the board of directors of the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Bassett is director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights and FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. From 2014 through the summer of 2018, Bassett served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where she made racial justice a priority and worked to address the structural racism at the root of the city’s persistent gaps in health between white New Yorkers and communities of color.

Under Bassett’s leadership, New York City implemented warning icons on chain restaurant menus and menu boards next to items that have more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium—about a day’s worth. Excess sodium in the diet promotes high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

“Dr. Mary Bassett is a public health pioneer who understands the need for policies that make it easier for people to eat and live healthfully,” said Lisa Heinzerling, chair of CSPI’s board. “And she has a national reputation for making sure that the gains we make in public health occur equitably across the population. CSPI’s board and staff leadership are fortunate to have the benefit of Mary’s expertise.”

“The Center for Science in the Public Interest has been a prime mover in some of the most important advances in food safety and nutrition over its nearly 50-year history,” said Bassett. “I am excited to help lead CSPI into its sixth decade as it further cements its reputation as a credible and independent advocate for science-based public health policies.”

Bassett holds an AB from Harvard University, an MD from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and an MPH from the University of Washington.