Adela Ames-Lopez, a former director at the state Department of Children and Families, was confirmed Tuesday night as health director in a sweeping 7-0 vote.
She had been serving in an interim capacity since being appointed in January to replace Shakira Abdul-Ali, who left for another job.
“You’re gonna learn about me,” Amez-Lopez told legislators. “I’m the voice.”
Amez-Lopez faced no opposition but a flurry of questions from West Ward councilwoman Robin Vaughn.
Vaughn wanted to ensure that Mayor Reed Gusciora’s health director doesn’t flip on the council now that she’s a permanent member of the cabinet.
“Don’t change up on us now,” Vaughn said.
Ames-Lopez, swearing her allegiance, said she remains committed to bettering health outcomes for residents, especially those most vulnerable.
“Don’t change up on me, either,” the health director shot back.
Gusciora praised Ames-Lopez's efforts handling the coronavirus vaccine rollout in the capital city and said she has plans for tackling omnipresent city issues, such as homelessness, opioid addiction and improving the antiquated animal shelter, which falls under her department’s purview.
“I’m confident with Dr. Lopez at the helm, we’ll get there,” Gusciora said, adding the health director has drawn praise from the governor’s office, FEMA and Mercer County for increasing vaccine access to vulnerable populations.
About 40 percent of Trentonians vaccinated so far are Black and Latino, city officials said, a figure that's much higher than the statewide average.
The goal is to vaccinate 70 percent of Trentonians, officials said.
As part of the outreach, Ames-Lopez helped launch a homebound program to vaccinate older residents with underlying health issues who can't leave their homes.