Cathleen Bennett, currently the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health, has been named the next president and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association, an Alexander Road-based trade organization, which includes nearly 400 hospitals, health systems and post-acute care facilities.

Bennett will begin her new job Thursday, November 9, becoming the sixth president and CEO in the association’s 99-year history. She will succeed Betsy Ryan, who has led the organization since 2008.

“We are fortunate to have found the right person for this key role, right down Route 1 in the heart of New Jersey,” said Steven G. Littleson, president of the hospital services division and chief operating officer of Hackensack Meridian Health, who chairs the NJHA board and led the search committee. “Cathy Bennett knows healthcare, she knows the Garden State and she understands what a pivotal time this is for our industry. Most importantly, she is committed to a healthier New Jersey, and that’s a goal we all share.”

Bennett holds a law degree along with a master’s in government administration. As commissioner of the state Department of Health, she oversees a department with a $1.6 billion budget and staff of 1,200.

Bennett was appointed to the post by Governor Chris Christie in 2015. Prior to being named commissioner, she served as the department’s chief information officer and led its policy and strategic planning.

Ryan announced her plans to step down last year and will remain through October 31.

From 1995 to 2010 Bennett served as senior vice president and partner of Policy Studies Inc., a start-up that provided consulting and technology services to health and human services programs in several states.

Bennett earned her law degree from the Dickinson School of Law, her master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s in English from Villanova University. She has one daughter in college and lives in Haddonfield with her husband.

New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA), 760 Alexander Road, Box 1, Princeton 08543. 609-275-4000. Elizabeth Ryan, president & CEO.

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