Malloy picks Mass. health official to head state DPH

Gov.-elect Dan Malloy has selected Dr. Jewel Mullen, a Massachusetts public-health official and a lecturer at Yale University, as the state’s commissioner of public health, according to sources. She will be the second woman and second African American selected by Malloy to lead a state agency.

Mullen, Jewel (Bill Brett)

Dr. Jewel Mullen to head state DPH (Bill Brett)

Mullen, the fourth agency head selected so far by Malloy, oversees community health and prevention for the Department of Public Health in Massachusetts, where she also serves as the chronic disease director.

Mullen has bachelor and master of public health degrees from Yale University, a medical degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and a master of public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Malloy is expected to announce her appointment next week.

Malloy had pledged during the campaign to promote diversity and increase the number of women in the top ranks of state government.

“I said I would do that,” Malloy said earlier this week, as he named Reuben Bradford as the first black commissioner of public safety. “I am doing that.”

Teresa Younger, the executive director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, said she Malloy’s transition team is committed to assembling a diverse, qualified administration.

“They are very conscious of this,” she said.

Younger said the public should resist keeping score on gender and race until the administration takes form. An NAACP official objected to the racial makeup of Malloy’s transition team, even before the names were announced.

“Sometimes people are looking for controversy. They are ready to jump on things that aren’t there yet,” Younger said.

But the commission will issue a gender and diversity scorecard in March, seeing if Malloy was able to match or exceed his predecessor’s success in bringing women in government.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell, only the second woman to become governor in the state, filled 37 percent of her top executive posts with women, including the first woman to oversee the Department of Correction. Younger said that percentage put Connecticut among the top ten states with women in the upper levels of government.

To assist Malloy, the commission solicited resumes from women interested in joing state government and forward the names of 61 female candidates for executive-level positions.

“They are out there,” Younger said.

Malloy said earlier this week he was not keeping score.

“We’re not keeping score by category. What I’m trying to do is staff immediately and as quickly as possible commissionerships,” Malloy said.

His previous department-head appointments are: Ben Barnes, Office of Policy and Management; Supreme Court Justice Joette Katz, Department of Children and Families; and Bradford, Department of Public Safety.

Malloy’s inner circle so far consists of men he has known for years, plus his running mate, Nancy Wyman. He has named Timothy F. Bannon as chief of staff, state Sen. Andrew McDonald of Stamford as his legal counsel and Roy Occhiogrosso, his media strategist on two campaigns, as a senior adviser.