New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
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New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
NYC Health.svg
Health Building 125 Worth Street.jpg
125 Worth Street in 2013
Department overview
JurisdictionNew York City
Headquarters42-09 28th St, Long Island City, NY 11101
Department executive
  • Dr. Oxiris Barbot, Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene
Child department
  • New York City Board of Health
Key document
2 Gotham Center in Long Island City, home to the DOHMH

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) is the department of the government of New York City[1] responsible for public health along with issuing birth certificates, dog licenses, and conducting restaurant inspection and enforcement. The New York City Board of Health is part of the department.[2][3] Its regulations are compiled in title 24 of the New York City Rules (the New York City Health Code). Since September 1, 2018, the commissioner has been Dr. Oxiris Barbot.


The department was initially set up as the New York City Board of Health, which held its first meeting in 1805 to combat an outbreak of yellow fever. In 1866, the New York State legislature enacted a bill establishing the Metropolitan Board of Health, consisting of the four Police Commissioners, four Health Commissioners appointed by the Governor, and the Health Officer for the Port of New York. In 1870 the legislature replaced the Board of Health with the Department of Health, with additional responsibilities including street cleaning and sanitary permits.[4]

As of December 1894, Charles G. Wilson was serving as President of the Board of Health.[5]

As a result of its consolidation with the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Alcoholism Services, it was renamed the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on July 29, 2002.[6]


In October, 2017, public health and animal rights activists in New York City launched a campaign to compel Health Commissioner Mary Bassett to enforce seven public health codes violated during Kaporos, a ritual animal sacrifice that takes place before Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.[7] From October 2017 to May 2018, the activists disrupted four of her public speaking engagements and staged four protests in the lobby of the NYC Department of Health (DOH).[8] The activists allege that Commissioner Bassett is turning a blind eye to the health code violations because the ultra-Orthodox Jews who practice the ritual represent a powerful voting bloc. During Kaporos, an estimated 60,000 six-week old chickens are intensively confined in crates without food or water for up to several days before being ritually slaughtered. Activists claim that many die of starvation, thirst and exposure before the ritual takes place, but there is no evidence of this. While activists claim the birds are discarded after slaughter, they are typically used for food and often donated to the poor. [9] A toxicology reported submitted to the court as part of an ongoing lawsuit against the DOH states that the ritual poses a risk to public health in the neighborhoods where it takes place.[10] While Commissioner Bassett has not publicly acknowledged the toxicology report or the activists' claims about the health code violations, she has issued a public statement asserting that "there remains no evidence that the use of chickens for Kaporos poses a significant risk to human health."[11]


  • New York City Board of Health
  • Commissioner of Health
    • General Counsel
    • Chief Medical Examiner
    • Executive Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer
      • Deputy Commissioner for Mental Hygiene
        • Alcohol and Drug Treatment
        • Child and Adolescent Services
        • Mental Health
        • Developmental Disabilities
        • Systems Strengthening and Access
      • Deputy Commissioner for Disease Control
        • Communicable Diseases
        • HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control
        • Immunization
        • Public Health Laboratory
        • STI Prevention and Control
        • Tuberculosis Control
      • Deputy Commissioner for Environmental Health
        • Environmental Disease Prevention
        • Environmental Emergency Preparedness and Response
        • Environmental Sciences and Engineering
        • Environmental Surveillance and Policy
        • Food Safety and Community Sanitation
        • Poison Control Center
        • Veterinary and Pest Control
      • Deputy Commissioner for Epidemiology
        • Epidemiology Services
        • Vital Statistics
        • Public Health Training
        • World Trade Center Health Registry
      • Deputy Commissioner for Health Care Access and Improvement
        • Correctional Health Services
        • Primary Care Access and Planning
        • Primary Care Information Project
        • Information Technology Initiatives
      • Deputy Commissioner for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
        • Chronic Disease Prevention and Tobacco Control
        • District Public Health Offices
        • Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health
        • School Health
      • Deputy Commissioner for Administration
      • Deputy Commissioner for Finance
      • Deputy Commissioner and Chief Information Officer
      • Deputy Commissioner for Emergency Preparedness and Response

Board of Health

The New York City Board of Health is part of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and consists of the commissioner of the department, the chairperson of the department's Mental Hygiene Advisory Board, and nine other members appointed by the mayor.[3]

See also


  1. ^ New York City Charter § 551(a); "There shall be a department of health and mental hygiene, the head of which shall be the commissioner of health and mental hygiene [...]"
  2. ^ New York City Charter § 553
  3. ^ a b New York Statewide Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce v New York City Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene, 23 NY3d 681 (2014).
  4. ^ "New York City Department of Health Centennial" (PDF). New York City Department of Health. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ "Charles G. Wilson Seriously Ill". The New York Times. New York City, United States. December 19, 1894. Retrieved 2017.
  6. ^ Cooper, Michael (July 30, 2002). "Metro Briefing -- Streets And Agencies Renamed". New York Times. Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ "NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett Misleads Public About Legality of Kaporos Chicken Massacre". 27 October 2017.
  8. ^ Schapiro, Noah Goldberg, Rich. "Protesters slam Health Department, implore city to ban Jewish chicken slaughter ritual - NY Daily News".
  9. ^
  10. ^ "The Yom Kippur Massacre of 2016 (VIDEO)". 31 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Activists Protest NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett Over Illegal Animal Massacre". 13 February 2018.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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