No. 4: Capitol Weekly’s Top 100

Illustration by Chris Shary for Capitol Weekly.

4. Mark Ghaly

Mark Ghaly is a Harvard-trained doctor, a pediatrician and a veteran health-program administrator. He’s also California’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, so he’s at the top of the pyramid of California’s sprawling health bureaucracy – “sprawling” being the operative word here. Ghaly, of South Pasdena, is largely unknown to the general public, but his position at H&HS is a big deal: he is the go-to person handling California’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the past six months, Ghaly has been consumed by COVID-19 and advises the governor on everything from masks to restaurant closures to public gatherings. He appears at the governor’s briefings on the coronavirus, and he’s one of a handful of top officials who regularly go to the emergency services compound with the governor to coordinate strategy. Ghaly’s credentials are impeccable: He earned dual B.A. degrees in biology and biomedical ethics from Brown University, a medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and a Master’s Degree from Harvard’s School of Public Health. For Ghaly, health is definitely a family business. His wife, Dr. Christina Ghaly, directs LA County’s Department of Health Services.

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