Dr. Thomas Farley is the Joan H. Tisch Distinguished Fellow in Public Health Policy at Hunter College of the City University of New York. From May 2009 to January 2014, he was Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
During his time as Health Commissioner, he advocated for innovative 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 NYC 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 also 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. During that period, Dr. Farley directed programs to control various infectious diseases. He has conducted research and published articles on a wide range of topics, including Legionnaires' disease, prevention of HIV/STDs, infant mortality, and obesity.
Dr. Farley is coauthor of
Prescription for a Healthy Nation (Beacon Press) with RAND Senior Scientist Deborah Cohen.