Burke Harris Named California’s First Surgeon General, Perry Named to CHHS Role

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom named Dr. Nadine Burke Harris as California’s first-ever Surgeon General. Burke Harris is the founder and CEO of the Center for Youth Wellness (CYW) in San Francisco and is trained as a pediatrician. Burke Harris leads the Bay Area Research Consortium on Toxic Stress and Health, a partnership between CYW and the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ National Advisory Board for Screening, a committee member of the National Academy of Medicine, and an expert advisor on the Let’s Get Healthy California Task Force.

According to the Newsom Administration, the surgeon general will urge policymakers at every level of government and leaders across the state to consider social determinants of health, adverse childhood experiences, and toxic stress, particularly among children. Burke Harris’ work will focus on reaching young families throughout California and combatting the root causes of serious health conditions. Burke Harris will be sworn in as California’s first Surgeon General on February 11.

Also on Monday, Governor Newsom announced that Kris Perry will serve as the Deputy Secretary for Early Childhood Development in the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) and Senior Advisor to the Governor on Implementation of Early Childhood Development Initiatives. Perry previously served as the President of Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) in Washington, D.C., and the Executive Director of the First Five Years Fund. She was also the Executive Director of First 5 California and First 5 San Mateo County.

She began her work in the Alameda County Social Services Agency and has held roles including child abuse investigator, family preservation case manager, and program manager. Perry was sworn into her position on Monday.

The full announcement from Governor Newsom is available here.