Gov. Murphy Announces Dr. Kaitlan Baston as New Department of Health Commissioner

July 27, 2023

On July 25, 2023, Governor Phil Murphy announced his intention to nominate Kaitlan Baston, MD, MSc, DFASAM, as the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH). Dr. Baston will assume the role in August of this year, following the recently announced upcoming retirement of current Commissioner Judith Persichilli.

Dr. Baton is currently the Division Head of Addiction Medicine and Medical Director of the Center for Healing at Cooper University Health Care. Dr. Baston founded the Center for Healing, which provides integrated pain, addiction, and behavioral health care; an inpatient addiction consult service; treatment in outpatient specialty clinics; a wrap-around perinatal substance use disorder program; and undergraduate and graduate medical education in addiction medicine and research. Additionally, Dr. Baston is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, and is an educator and consultant for Zero to Three, an organization focused on ensuring all babies and toddlers have a strong start to life.

"I was delighted to learn of Dr. Baston's highly deserved appointment to the critical position of Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health, as NJAMHAA has greatly appreciated her work on medication-assisted treatment in particular and other areas of addiction at the Center for Healing," said Debra L. Wentz, PhD, NJAMHAA President and CEO. She continued, "NJAMHAA has enjoyed partnerships with DOH, which have been mutually beneficial, and we look forward to working with Commissioner Baston and her team to address ongoing challenges that affect delivery of integrated physical and behavioral healthcare services to children, youth and adults in need throughout the state."

Governor Murphy was quoted in a news release saying, "I am thrilled to nominate Dr. Kaitlan Baston as our next Commissioner of the Department of Health . . . The Department plays a vital role in protecting the public's health, while also promoting healthy communities and constantly improving the quality of health care for all New Jerseyans. Dr. Baston's breadth of experience as a physician, highlighted by her many leadership roles within the addiction and health care space, will make her an exceptional Commissioner at the Department of Health."

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