Who: Dr. Herminia Palacio, 54
New position: Deputy mayor for health and human services, New York City, effective Jan. 25. She will oversee major health departments and work with other administrators in reviewing programs for the city's homeless.
Former role: Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where she developed new health-focused leadership programs that connect people across sectors and disciplines.
Public health background: Served as executive director of Harris County (Texas) Public Health and Environmental Services, and before that was senior policy adviser for the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Coming home: A New York City native, Palacio said she'll work to improve the health and well-being of communities, helping to carry out Mayor Bill de Blasio's vision for a healthier city. She will oversee agencies such as the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Homeless Services.
In the aftermath of Katrina: She was working for Harris County when Houston took in 27,000 evacuees from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck. She said she learned how crucial it was to mobilize quickly and be innovative to maintain the health of the population.