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Meet Pennsylvania’s Next Secretary of Health – Dr. Karen Murphy


Dr. Karen Murphy – acting secretary, Department of Health

Karen Murphy is the Acting Secretary of Health in Pennsylvania. Dr. Murphy has extensive knowledge of the health care industry and is a proven executive who has demonstrated her ability to lead complex organizations and initiatives in both the public and private sectors. Prior to assuming her role in Governor Wolf’s cabinet  Secretary Murphy served as Director of the State Innovation Models Initiative, a $900 million investment by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation aimed at accelerating health care innovation across the nation. Secretary Murphy has an extensive career in healthcare administration. She was the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Moses Taylor Health Care System.  Prior to becoming CEO of Moses Taylor Health Care System, Dr. Murphy served in various roles in health care administration. As founder and Chief Executive Officer of Physicians Health Alliance, Inc. (PHA), Secretary Murphy led an integrated medical group practice within Moses Taylor Health Care System. 


Secretary Murphy currently serves as a Clinical Faculty Member in the Medicine Department at The Commonwealth Medical College.  Dr. Murphy earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, a Master of Business Administration from Marywood University, a Bachelor of Science from the University of Scranton, and a diploma as a registered nurse from the Scranton State Hospital School of Nursing. She is an author and national speaker on health policy and health care innovation.


The Role of the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health

The Secretary of Health is a cabinet?level position. The Secretary is the top health regulator in Pennsylvania and serves as a liaison to the Governor for the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

He/she is responsible for carrying out the department’s mission to promote healthy lifestyles, prevent injury and disease and assure the safe delivery of quality health care for all Pennsylvanians. The Secretary is charged with working collaboratively with public and private partners to promote prevention and wellness and establish preparedness in pursuit of the optimal health of all Pennsylvanians and the retention of the critical individuals who provide care to our citizens.

He/she sets overall policy and direction; defines the department’s mission; establishes strategic goals; outlines specific objectives; prepares annual budgets for submission to the Governor; identifies priorities and accountability in fiscal matters; proposes initiatives to further department objectives; and represents the department and the administration before other state agencies, the Legislature, professional organizations, the health industry, community and stakeholder groups, consumers and the general public.