Monday, February 28, 2011

Dr. Daines' unexpected death

I learned this morning that Dr. Richard Daines has died. He served as New York State Health Commissioner until last December.

I last saw Dr. Daines on December 13 when he was in Syracuse to address the University Hill Corporation. It may have been his last public address as Commissioner.

A student of history, Dr. Daines gave a thoughtful and insightful lecture. He cited the names of various New York counties through which he traveled as Commissioner, and for each name he recalled a part of New York history involving civil rights, commerce, or technological innovation. He concluded his remarks by advocating that New York, consistent with its remarkable history, has an opportunity to take a leadership role in addressing the needs and challenges of health care.

After the talk, Dr. Daines told me had not yet decided what he would do after leaving the Department of Health. I read last week that he had been named a visiting scholar at the New York Academy of Medicine.

To get a sense of the man, read the New York Times profile that accompanied his appointment as Health Commissioner in 2007. Dr. Daines unexpected passing is such a shock and a sadness.

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