A wiz kid comes to Salem

I see Governor Kohoutek is bringing in a nice young doctor from New Jersey, Sejal Hathi, to lead the state's wayward health department. That's certainly an improvement from the guy the previous guv, Killer Kate, had running the place. He wasn't a doctor; he was more of an artist, or a work of art unto himself. These days he's getting sunburned in New Mexico.

We'll have to wait a while to see how it goes with the new boss. The last doctor that Kohoutek wheeled in to run the "authority," a guy named James Schroeder, lasted only a month or two before he realized that the agency was filled wth "toxic people," and he quit. When he walked out, they started saying he had only been appointed as "interim" director anyway, but I don't believe that for a minute. The word "interim" seemed to surface only as he shipped out, before his Aeron chair even got broken in.

Dr. Hathi is currently New Jersey's deputy commissioner for public health services, but she's only had that gig since July. Before that, she was a public health advisor in the Obama and Biden White Houses. She's a graduate of Stanford and Yale, and has taught at Harvard. She's got an MBA to go with her medical degree. She grew up in Fremont, California. 

She says she inherited her drive to excel from her parents, who immigrated to America from East Africa (a generation earlier, her grandparents left India for opportunities in Tanzania and Uganda.) Her mother and father worked to put themselves through college, and her father is now an engineer for a Silicon Valley firm, while her mother is an attorney who specializes in immigration. As a child of immigrants, Hathi was eligible for a Soros Fellowship and was awarded a grant to pay for her schooling at Stanford in the spring. The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship singles out exceptional immigrant students who have the ability and desire to handle an advanced education. It chooses those who show the most promise of becoming leaders who will give back to their communities and their nation. The candidates also had to demonstrate an understanding and respect for the principles and values of this unique nation: freedom and individual rights.

Dr. Hathi's got a Twitter account, here. She's still in her early 30s. She has been proclaimed the Next Big Thing since she was in high school. But can she survive in the snake pit of the Beaver State capital?

Good luck to her as she moves here from Princeton in January. She's going to need it.


  1. I don't think we deserve that kind of brainpower or talent. She'll probably move on in a year or three.

    1. I'd bet the under for even one year. I hope I'm wrong, but I can't imagine the atmosphere in Salem will be what she's looking for. It's like Trenton, only worse. At least she can visit her parents without a 3,000-mile cross-country trek.

  2. I wonder how long before she has her "Forget about it, Jake, it's Chinatown" moment.

  3. If she can find two competent upper level people to get on board with her. She may stay.

    No———the odds aren’t really good.

  4. Dr. Hathi seems well educated and looks to be well qualified for the OHA position, certainly better than the paper pushing bureaucrat Patrick “building permits guy” Allen. I just worry that the bureaucrat sharks within the OHA will chew her up and spit her out.


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