Top doctor out of running for Philadelphia health commissioner – Axios

Top doctor out of running for Philadelphia health commissionerAla Stanford stands at last week’s ribbon cutting of the new health clinic that bears her name. Photo: Jared Piper/Philadelphia City Council Flickr

Ala Stanford, one of Philadelphia’s most well-known doctors, is no longer angling to become the city’s health commissioner.

Driving the news: Stanford withdrew her name from consideration for the position on Friday. She said in a statement that she’s focusing on the operation of her family medicine practice that’s opening this week.

  • At least one city legislator was pushing Mayor Jim Kenney to appoint Stanford as the next commissioner of the Department of Public Health.

Why it matters: Becoming the city’s top doctor would have significantly complicated her ability to independently run her health center and potentially raised conflict-of-interest issues, such as receiving city funds, said Stanford’s brother, Kamau Stanford.

  • “The focus is on our communities, and the city has been a huge ally of ours. Working together is what made Philadelphia the most vaccinated city among African Americans in our country,” added Stanford, who’s also COO of the Dr. Ala Stanford Center for Health Equity.

Between the lines: Ala Stanford, an African American surgeon, rose to prominence during the early days of the pandemic in 2020 by setting up her own virus testing clinics in communities of color and underserved neighborhoods.

  • The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, which Stanford founded and leads, continues to offer virus testing and vaccinations.
  • Stanford has been awarded several distinctions and honors for her work during the pandemic.

Zoom out: Dr. Cheryl Bettigole has served as the city’s acting health commissioner since May, when the former commissioner resigned over his involvement in the mishandling of remains of victims of the 1985 MOVE bombing.

  • The city continues to conduct a national search to fill the position.


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