Elnahal to leave University Hospital for spot as under secretary at U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Shereef Elnahal, who has done remarkable work elevating University Hospital in Newark during his time as CEO, has been nominated by President Joe Biden to be the under secretary for health for the Veterans Health Administration at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Elnahal has been CEO of University Hospital since August 2019 and is widely credited for increasing the quality of care and the level of morale at the hospital, which has been a leader in education and vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elnahal, who could not be immediately reached for comment, has years of government experience, too, including two roles with Veterans Affairs. He served as director of the diffusion of excellence initiative from August 2015 to November 2016 and as assistant deputy under secretary of health for quality, safety and value from November 2016 to January 2018.

Prior to taking over as head of University Hospital, he served as the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health from January 2018 to August 2019.

Elnahal graduated from Johns Hopkins with a bachelor’s degree in biophysics in 2007 before graduating from both Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School.

Gov. Phil Murphy thanked Elnahal for his efforts, saying he has made a huge impact in the state.

“Everyone who has worked with Shereef, myself included, knows that President Biden has made the right choice in asking him to serve as under secretary for health for the Veterans Health Administration at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” he said.

“When I asked Shereef to join my administration as our first commissioner of health in 2018, it was because of his record in improving transparency and care for our nation’s veterans as assistant deputy under secretary for health. Both in his roles as commissioner and as CEO of University Hospital, Shereef brought together diverse communities and put equity at the forefront of his work. Moreover, his efforts at ensuring the ability of University Hospital to serve all needing care throughout the COVID pandemic have been nothing short of herculean.

“While I am sad to see him leave New Jersey, I know that the VA and our nation’s veterans will be the better for his returning expertise and knowledge in one of the federal government’s truly consequential posts.”