Tracie M. Gardner was appointed Assistant Secretary of Health by New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on January 11, 2015. In this capacity she works under the Deputy Secretary of Health to provide oversight for the state’s mental hygiene agencies, including the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the Office of Mental Health, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, and the newly formed Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.
Ms. Gardner previously served as Co-Director of Policy for the Legal Action Center, where for 14 years she conducted and coordinated the Center’s New York State public policy advocacy in the areas of substance use disorders, criminal justice, and HIV/AIDS. Among other important victories, she led advocacy campaigns that resulted in a multi-million dollar, permanent funding stream for New York State alternative-to-incarceration and reentry programs, secured landmark HIV confidentiality and testing legislation, and won comprehensive reform of the Rockefeller Drug Laws. Since 1989, she has worked on a wide array of city, state, and federal health and social service policy issues at agencies including Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies. The founder and long-time coordinator of the Women’s Initiative to Stop HIV (WISH-NY), Ms. Gardner served on the New York State AIDS Advisory Council from 2001 until her appointment as Assistant Secretary of Health. She is the proud mother of two sons, ages 14 and 18.