Murphy taps Judith Persichilli to be next health commissioner

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday he will nominate Judith Persichilli to be the state’s new health commissioner.

She will effectively swap roles with current commissioner, Shereef Elnahal, who is leaving the Murphy administration in July to become CEO of University Hospital in Newark.

Persichilli, a registered nurse, is currently serving as interim president and CEO of that same hospital. She was brought in by Murphy as an independent monitor to oversee operations at the troubled facility, which is the only public acute-care hospital in the state.

Last December, Persichilli delivered a report that found a range of problems at the hospital stemming from lack of leadership, including safety and budgetary concerns, poor planning and a lack of communication.

At a press conference Tuesday, Murphy said Persichilli had put University Hospital “on the road to recovery.”

She has several years of experience heading up hospitals, including eight years as the CEO of St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton.

Persichilli will serve as acting health commissioner until she is confirmed by the Senate.