Trenton Health Director to Step Down in October

Former Health Director Appointed in Interim Pending National Search for Replacement

September 17, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor W. Reed Gusciora announced today that Director Shakira Abdul-Ali of the Trenton Health and Human Services Department will be stepping down from her role effective Oct. 2, 2020 to pursue other professional opportunities.

James Anthony Brownlee, who previously served as the Trenton Director of Health and Human Services until he retired from the position in July 2018, will reassume that role pending the conclusion of a national search for a permanent replacement.

Director Abdul-Ali has served Trenton since July 2018. During that time, she has led the Gusciora Administration’s efforts to combat youth homelessness, address the need for expanded health services in the Trenton schools, and launch the “Resilient Trenton!” campaign with 22 partner agencies to transform Trenton into a trauma-informed city by 2024.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Director Abdul-Ali worked with the city’s healthcare community to help secure resources for homeless patients, provide information to the public regarding safety practices, and issue warnings for restaurants and public gatherings not complying with social distancing regulations.

“Director Abdul-Ali has been a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable members of our community who struggle with poverty, healthcare, addiction, homelessness, and trauma from violence,” said Mayor Gusciora. “We wish her the very best in her future pursuits. With his depth of experience, I’m confident that Acting Director Brownlee will effectively manage the city’s healthcare efforts while we find a permanent replacement.”

“Serving the City of Trenton and its people as the Director of Health and Human Services has been a tremendous honor,” said Director Abdul-Ali. “I’m proud of what this administration has achieved in the last two years and I’m thankful to have worked with a wonderful staff and countless community groups and advocates who fight for Trenton every day.”

Acting Director Brownlee has more than 30 years in public health management, including serving under both Mayor Tony Mack and Mayor Eric Jackson, and as an Assistant Commissioner at the N.J. Department of Health and Senior Services.