University Hospital taps New Jersey health commissioner as CEO

Newark, N.J.-based University Hospital has appointed Shereef Elnahal, MD, president and CEO, effective July 15.

Dr. Elnahal is currently the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health, a role he has held since January 2018. He was previously assistant deputy undersecretary for health at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs during the Obama administration. He has also served as an adjunct professor of health policy and management at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

In addition to earning his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, Dr. Elnahal holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, both based in Boston.

Dr. Elnahal replaces Judith Persichilli, RN, who has been serving as acting president and CEO since December 2018.

Ms. Persichilli took over after the resignation of John N. Kastanis, who left after a bacterial outbreak in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit resulted in three deaths. A New Jersey Health Department investigation found "major infection control deficiencies," and created a correction plan for the hospital.

"It is now my privilege to transition into serving the state's only public hospital and its community," said Dr. Elnahal. "At University Hospital, I pledge to continue my service to New Jersey by executing on a vision that makes it an institution of trust again for its community."

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