The Senate yesterday (January 7) unanimously confirmed Heather Howard, J.D., as the 14th Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.
"I am very honored to have been asked by Governor Corzine and confirmed by the Senate to serve as Commissioner of the Department of Health and Senior Services," said Howard. "I look forward to working with the dedicated staff at the Department to protect and promote the health of New Jersey residents. It is an honor and a privilege to lead the Department."
"Heather Howard will be a dynamic leader in her role as Commissioner for the Department of Health and Senior Services." Governor Jon S. Corzine said. "She has extensive knowledge of state and federal health care issues and a deep commitment to improving the health and health care of the people of New Jersey."
Before her nomination as Commissioner, Howard was Governor Corzine’s Policy Counsel for two years. She advised on all policy issues and directed the policy staff. She worked closely with the Governor’s Commission on Rationalizing Healthcare Resources, a group studying the state’s financially stressed health care delivery system, and played a key role in the successful effort to protect NJ FamilyCare, the state’s health insurance program for low-income children and families, from federal cuts. She also led efforts to expand access to health insurance.
From 2001 to 2006, Howard worked in Washington, D.C., for then-Senator Corzine. She served as Legislative Counsel, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Planning, and finally as Chief of Staff. Howard advised the Senator on policy development, legislative strategy, constituent services, communications and personnel. She worked on legislation to expand access to prenatal care, increase federal funding to New Jersey health care providers, and protect the state’s Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled program when the federal Medicare
prescription program was implemented.
Before joining the Corzine staff, Howard worked in the White House where she served as Associate Director of President Bill Clinton’s Domestic Policy Council, and Senior Policy Adviser to First Lady Hillary Clinton.
Howard earned her J.D. cum laude from New York University School of Law. Following law school, she served a judicial clerkship with Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Howard was then accepted into the U.S. Department of Justice’s Honors Program, where she worked as a trial attorney in the Antitrust Division’s Health Care Task Force.
From 1990 to 1994, she was legislative assistant and policy adviser to Congresswoman Nita Lowey of New York.
Howard earned a B.A. cum laude in History and Spanish from Duke University. She lives in Princeton with her husband and son.