Tom Farley, MD, MPH

Commissioner of Health, Philadelphia; Former CEO, The Public Good Projects; Former Commissioner of Health for New York City


In 2015, Dr. Farley was the CEO of The Public Good Projects. He was Commissioner of Health for New York City from May 2009 to January 2014.  In that position, he advocated for groundbreaking public health policies in New York City, including making the city’s parks and beaches smoke-free, prohibiting price discounting of cigarettes, raising the legal sales age of tobacco to 21, capping the portion size of sugary drinks sold in restaurants at 16 ounces, and restricting the burning of air-polluting dirty fuels to heat buildings. During Dr. Farley’s time at the agency, the New York City health department led the National Salt Reduction Initiative, which has successfully worked with major food companies to reduce sodium levels in food nationwide. Dr. Farley used mass media to deliver powerful messages to promote health behaviors, including creating the “Pouring On the Pounds” sugary drink ads on subways and televisions, introducing the “Two Drinks Ago” campaign to reduce binge alcohol drinking, and developing a series of hard-hitting ads on the health consequences of smoking.  

Before joining the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Agency, Dr. Farley was chair of the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.  He received his MD and Master of Public Health degrees from Tulane University.

Trained as a pediatrician, he served in the Centers for Disease Control's Epidemic Intelligence Service and worked for the CDC and the Louisiana Office of Public Health from 1989 to 2000.  In 2014 he was the Joan H. Tisch Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy at Hunter College.

Dr. Farley is coauthor of Prescription for a Healthy Nation (Beacon Press) with RAND Senior Scientist Deborah Cohen, and author of the forthcoming Saving Gotham (W.W. Norton).