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Dr. Debra Bogen, Allegheny County Health Dept. director, named as new Pa. Secretary of Health

Dr. Debra Bogen.
Allegheny County

Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro appointed Allegheny County Health Department director Dr. Debra Bogen to be the state’s secretary of Health, the incoming administration announced Wednesday morning.

Shapiro announced four other health and human services cabinet positions on Wednesday. Dr. Val Arkoosh will be appointed Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Dr. Latika Davis-Jones will be Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs, Jason Kavulich will be Secretary of Aging and Mike Humphreys will be Insurance Commissioner.

“The health and safety of our communities is of the utmost importance, and I’m proud to nominate tested leaders like Dr. Val Arkoosh, Dr. Debra Bogen, Dr. Latika Davis-Jones, Jason Kavulich, and Mike Humphreys to key cabinet posts in my Administration – they are well qualified public servants who are passionate about public health and ready to get to work on day one,” Shapiro said in a statement. “With today’s announcement, we continue to build our diverse, hard-working team with leaders who will bring decades of public health experience to their roles.”

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“The health and wellbeing of Pennsylvanians is critical to our success as a Commonwealth, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to work with Governor-Elect Shapiro to serve the healthcare needs of people across Pennsylvania,” said Bogen. “In Allegheny County, we’ve brought people together to expand access to clinical care, advocate for family and child health, and protect the most vulnerable. I am excited to advance the Shapiro Administration’s agenda and to make evidence-informed decisions to improve the health and wellbeing of all of our residents.”

Bogen joined the county health department in March 2020 as COVID-19 was first spreading in the region.

“When we announced her hiring in early 2020, none of us could have expected that COVID would be upon us so quickly. In March of that year, Dr. Bogen answered the call and began her term as the new Health Department director several months before she was scheduled to do so,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a statement.

“We have been fortunate to have her serve the residents of Allegheny County for the last nearly three years and look forward to all that she will do on behalf of the entire Commonwealth’s residents.”

Prior to serving as the county health department director, Bogen was a professor of pediatrics, psychiatry and clinical and translational science at the University of Pittsburgh. She also served as vice chair of education for the Department of Pediatrics at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Julia Zenkevich reports on Allegheny County government for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at