Two Health Care Advocates Receive Senate Confirmation of Cabinet Positions

On May 13, 2015, by a vote of 47-0, the state Senate confirmed Karen Murphy, PhD, RN, as Secretary of Health and Gary Tennis as Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP).

Murphy most recently was the director of the State Innovation Models Initiative at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation and clinical faculty member at The Commonwealth Medical College. She started her career as a nurse and worked her way up to become the chief executive officer at Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton, Pa.

She has extensive knowledge of and experience in the health care industry. Prior to becoming CEO of Moses Taylor Health Care System, she served in various roles in health care administration. As founding chief executive officer of Physicians Health Alliance, Inc. (PHA), she led an integrated medical group practice within Moses Taylor Health Care System. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, a Master of Business Administration from Marywood University, a Bachelor of Science from the University of Scranton, and a diploma as a registered nurse from the Scranton State Hospital School of Nursing.

Tennis, who is a nationally recognized expert in drug and alcohol abuse, was also DDAP Secretary in the Corbett administration. He has worked closely with the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) in the state’s campaign to curb opioid abuse in the commonwealth.

He was  appointed to serve as the first secretary of DDAP in January 2012. He is retired from his previous position as chief of the legislation unit in the Philadelphia’s District Attorney’s Office, where he represented the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association working with the General Assembly. In addition to more than 25 years of legislative experience, he served as executive director of the President’s Commission on Model State Drug Laws in 1993. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Tulsa in 1975 and was a Rhodes Scholarship nominee. He is also a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania Law School.