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Former New York City Health Commissioner Named Sternberg Family Professor Of Leadership

Thought Leader: Dave Chokshi
July 17, 2023

Dave A. Chokshi, M.D., the former commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, has been appointed the inaugural Sternberg Family Professor of Leadership at The City College of New York’s Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership.

This endowed professorship, first announced in April 2022, was established with a gift from Seymour (Sy) Sternberg ’65, ’10 (hon.) and Laurie Sternberg in honor of the late General Colin Powell. As the Sternberg Family Professor of Leadership, Chokshi will play a central role in the development of leadership studies at the Colin Powell School and in the scaling of a range of student leadership development initiatives across the School and the College. He will also teach and mentor students interested in becoming leaders in public health, health equity, and movements for health justice.

Chokshi begins his new position on Aug. 25.

During his tenure as New York City’s 43rd health commissioner, from August 2020 to March 2022, Chokshi led the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including its historic campaign to vaccinate more than six million New Yorkers, which saved tens of thousands of lives.

Before being appointed commissioner, Chokshi served in leadership roles at NYC Health + Hospitals, the city’s public healthcare system, including as its inaugural chief population health officer. He has been published in leading academic journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet, and the Journal of the American Medical Association. In addition to his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania (Alpha Omega Alpha distinction) and his undergraduate degree (summa cum laude) from Duke University, he earned a master’s degree in global public health at Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

A practicing primary care internist at Bellevue Hospital since 2014, Chokshi also holds clinical professorship appointments at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s Departments of Population Health and Medicine and is a senior scholar at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.

“Dr. Chokshi is a distinguished leader and an accomplished scholar. He is precisely the kind of person we hoped to attract for this new endowed professorship,” said Andrew Rich, the Richard J. Henley and Susan L. Davis Dean of the Colin Powell School. “He led New York City’s public health response during the most challenging days of the pandemic, and he is an admired national leader in health policy and public health. My sincere thanks, again, to Sy and Laurie Sternberg for making this position possible.”

“Dr. Chokshi has extraordinary qualifications, and I am pleased that he has agreed to serve as the inaugural Sternberg Family Professor of Leadership at the Colin Powell School. His credentials and his experience will be assets to the College, and I look forward to the role he will play in expanding opportunities for our students,” said Sy Sternberg, the former chairman and CEO of New York Life Insurance Company, the largest mutual life insurance company in the U.S. and one of the largest life insurers in the world.  

“Dr. Chokshi believes deeply in the mission of CCNY and CUNY. His appointment will fulfill one of General Powell’s charges to all of us who worked with him: that we prepare our students to be leaders across sectors and in service to society,” said City College President Vincent G. Boudreau.

“As an institution, CUNY makes real the notion of ‘being the change one wants to see in the world,’ and the Colin Powell School is particularly focused on shaping the principled and excellent leaders we need for that world,” said Chokshi. “It is a privilege to join these communities as the inaugural Sternberg Family Professor of Leadership.”

About the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership
Established in 2013, the Colin Powell School is home to the social science departments at CCNY as well as the core leadership development and public service programs of the College. With almost 4,000 students, and graduating the most CCNY students annually, the Colin Powell School mission is to transform the nation’s most diverse student body into tomorrow’s global leaders. Half of its students are immigrants; more than seventy percent are first-generation college students. Eighty percent are people of color. Most come from lower income backgrounds. The Colin Powell School and City College remain among the most effective engines of economic and social mobility in the United States. The School is led by a faculty dedicated to the highest standards of research and to the university’s democratic and public obligations.

About the City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided a high-quality and affordable education to generations of New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. CCNY embraces its position at the forefront of social change. It is ranked #1 by the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights out of 369 selective public colleges in the United States on the overall mobility index. This measure reflects both access and outcomes, representing the likelihood that a student at CCNY can move up two or more income quintiles. Education research organization Degree Choices ranks CCNY #1 nationally among universities for economic return on investment. In addition, the Center for World University Rankings places CCNY in the top 1.8% of universities worldwide in terms of academic excellence. Labor analytics firm Emsi puts at $1.9 billion CCNY’s annual economic impact on the regional economy (5 boroughs and 5 adjacent counties) and quantifies the “for dollar” return on investment to students, taxpayers and society. At City College, more than 15,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship. This year, CCNY launched its most expansive fundraising campaign, ever. The campaign, titled “Doing Remarkable Things Together” seeks to bring the College’s Foundation to more than $1 billion in total assets in support of the College mission. CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself.

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