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About Dr. Chris

Download Dr. Chris Pernell's Curriculum Vitae (.pdf)

Dr. Chris T. Pernell is a dynamic physician leader and social change agent. In her public health practice, she focuses on health justice, community-based advocacy, and population-wide health promotion and disease prevention. Previously, she worked at University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey as the first Chief Strategic Integration and Health Equity Officer. She oversaw a portfolio which included Population Health, Strategic Planning, Community Affairs, and the Human Experience. Her office was responsible for launching health equity strategy development and integrating diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism initiatives across all system operations.

Prior to joining University Hospital, she led the 1199SEIU/League Labor Management Initiatives (LMI) Workplace and Community Health Program. Working with 1199SEIU leaders and frontline workers—the nation’s largest healthcare union—and executive partners across NYC healthcare institutions, her efforts centered on workplace health strategies, worker empowerment, health equity, and health system transformation.

Dr. Chris is a charismatic and leading voice in preventive medicine and public health. The New Jersey Public Health Association recently awarded her the Dr. Ezra Mundy Hunt Award for her distinctive leadership in public health. In 2022, NJBiz chose her as one of the Best 50 Women in Business. ROI-NJ named her a ROI Influencer in their Women in Business roster as well. The American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) selected her to receive the 2022 Volunteer of the Year Award and the Ron Davis Special Recognition Award in 2021. Also, NJBiz named her a 2020 Public Health Hero. Dr. Pernell has spearheaded issues such as prison reform, care for justice-involved populations, evidence-based wellness programs, civic health, and high-quality education. Known for her community work in the Greater Newark, New Jersey area, she serves on the Essex County Civilian Task Force as a medical expert. Dr. Pernell is a frequent contributor across television, radio, and print media leveraging her lived experiences and expertise as a public health physician and health equity champion. She regularly speaks at professional symposia and social forums and advises community, state, regional, and national leaders on health equity, racial justice, population health, community well-being, and faith-based initiatives.

Dr. Chris graduated cum laude from Princeton University before attending Duke University School of Medicine. She received her Master of Public Health from the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and completed the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health General Preventive Medicine Residency. Dr. Pernell is a fellow and Regent-at-Large for the American College of Preventive Medicine. She holds an appointment as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Previously, she taught as an adjunct associate professor at the NYU College of Global Public Health. She labors as a faith leader in a groundbreaking assembly, BET HaSHEM YHWH Worldwide Ministries, and travels domestically and overseas helping to transform lives through love, truth, creativity, and inspiration.