This story was originally published in the August 2018 Trenton Downtowner.

Jim Brownlee has stepped down as Trenton’s director of health and human services. Trenton resident Shakira Abdul-Ali has been named acting director.

Brownlee came to Trenton from the state Department of Health, where he was assistant commissioner of epidemiology, environmental, and occupational health. In Trenton he worked to improve services for the uninsured and “efforts during his tenure have undoubtedly saved the lives of countless Trentonians,” Mayor Reed Gusciora said.

Abdul-Ali has served urban centers across New Jersey and New York for more than 30 years. “Shakira has proven that she’s someone who not only cares about those who need our help the most, but that she is intelligent and driven enough to act on those concerns,” Gusciora said.

Abdul-Ali holds bachelors’ degrees in economics and urban studies from Wellesley and a master’s in organization development from American University. A national search for a long-term director is planned.