iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
An Indian American doctor has been appointed by Governor Tina Kotek as the director of the Oregon Health Authority. The incoming director brings over a decade of experience in medicine, health policy and education, and non-profit development.
Dr. Sejal Hathi will take over as the director of the Oregon Health Authority from January 16, 2024. “The Oregon Health Authority has a critical role in ensuring equitable access to health care in Oregon and for stewarding our behavioral and public health systems in every part of the state,” Governor Kotek said. “This work must be carried out with transparency, accountability, urgency, and an infallible commitment to customer service. Dr. Hathi brings a rare combination of extraordinary qualifications to this role – from frontline experience as a physician, to shaping policy in the White House, to founding two non-profits focused on women and girls leadership. I am grateful she is bringing her experience and talent to serve Oregonians.”
The governor and her staff also thanked interim director Dave Baden for his service during the search for a permanent director. Baden will continue his work at OHA and will serve as a deputy director overseeing major programs and policy initiatives. “Kris Kautz will continue as a deputy director overseeing agency operations,” said OHA in a press statement.
Before joining the Oregon Health Authority, Dr. Hathi served as New Jersey’s deputy health commissioner for public health services and designated state health officer. Before that, she served for two years as the White House’s Senior Policy Advisor for Public Health, where she led various Administration priorities for the Domestic Policy Council. A board-certified attending physician, she also held joint faculty appointments as an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“I’m both excited and humbled to be a part of the ground-breaking advances in healthcare access that are happening in Oregon,” Dr. Hathi said. “At the national level, all eyes are on Oregon and the steps this state is taking to expand health coverage and tackle root cause issues, such as the social determinants of health. I look forward to continuing this proud tradition and working with the team to make every community in the state a healthier place to live.”
Dr. Hathi cared for COVID-19 patients as a resident physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and a clinical fellow on faculty at Harvard Medical School, where she also launched and led a voter education and mobilization initiative for providers and their patients. She has served on numerous national boards related to public service and public health. Today, she maintains a role as a founding board member of Indiaspora. Dr. Hathi has spoken at TEDWomen, the World Health Assembly, and the United Nations, among other venues.
Early in her career, Dr. Hathi founded and led two, award-winning social enterprises, each building community and advancing women’s and girls’ leadership around the world. In 2013, Dr. Hathi was appointed as 1 of 9 public health leaders to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s expert advisory group on women’s & children’s health, charged with evaluating and reporting global progress against maternal and child mortality. Dr. Hathi holds a B.S. with honors from Yale University and an M.D./M.B.A. from Stanford University.