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Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson.

Biden picks Johnson for national testing coordinator

Deputy Commissioner Sarah Adelman to take over as acting Human Services Department head

By Nikita Biryukov, December 29 2020 5:53 pm

State Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson will head to Washington next month to join President-elect Joe Biden’s White House COVID-19 Response Team, Gov. Phil murphy announced Tuesday.

Deputy Commissioner Sarah Adelman, who manages more than $17 billion in programs under department divisions on developmental disabilities, aging services and medical assistance and health services, will take Johnson’s post in an acting capacity on Jan. 16, the same day the departing commissioner joins Biden’s administration.

Johnson will become chair of the National Pandemic Testing Board, tasked with ensuring new cases of COVID-19 are identified as the country moves through its second month of vaccinations.

She’ll resign from her state post a day before starting the national one, on Jan. 15. Politico first reported Johnson’s Biden administration job.

“From day one, Carole Johnson has been one of our most valuable team members and a leading voice for serving New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents,” Murphy said.

Johnson, an occasional presence at the governor’s virus briefings, was a senior health policy advisor and a member of the Domestic Policy Council health team under President Barack Obama. She’s also held a post at the U.S. Department of Health.

She’ll take up her new national post exactly three years after joining Murphy’s administration on January 16, 2018.

“We’re sad to see her depart the Administration, but are excited that she’ll be taking a critical role serving President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris in the White House as our nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic,” Murphy said.

Before joining the murphy administration in February 2018, Adelman was vice president of the New Jersey Association of Health Plans. She was with the insurance industry group for roughly nine years.

“I hope to continue building on our efforts to serve New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents, as well as making services available to many who need support for the first time as a result of COVID-19,” she said. “I am grateful for the Governor’s confidence and will work to ensure a seamless transition for the residents who rely on the Department of Human Services for assistance.”

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