United States Secretary of Health and Human Services

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Secretary of Health and Human Services of the United States of America
Flag of the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.svg
Flag of the Secretary of Health and Human Services
US-DeptOfHHS-Seal.svg
Seal of the Department of Health and Human Services
Sylvia Mathews Burwell official portrait.jpg
Incumbent
Sylvia Mathews Burwell

since June 9, 2014
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Member of Cabinet
Reports to The president
Seat Washington, D.C.
Appointer The president
Term length No fixed term
Constituting instrument Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1953
67 U.S.C. § 6301
42 U.S.C. § 3501
Formation August 3, 1979
First holder Patricia Roberts Harris
Succession Eleventh
(presidential line of succession)
Deputy Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services
Salary Executive Schedule, level 1
Website www.hhs.gov

The United States Secretary of Health and Human Services is the head of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, concerned with health matters. The Secretary is a member of the President's Cabinet. The office was formerly Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.

In 1979, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare was renamed the Department of Health and Human Services, and its education functions transferred to the new Department of Education. Patricia Roberts Harris headed the department before and after it was renamed.

Nominations to the office of Secretary of HHS are referred to the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid, before confirmation is considered by the full United States Senate.

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act the role of the Secretary has been greatly expanded.[1][2]

Sylvia Mathews Burwell was nominated by President Obama on April 11, 2014, to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services after the resignation of Kathleen Sebelius.[3] She was confirmed on June 5, 2014 and sworn in on June 9, 2014.[4]

Duties[edit]

The flag of the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, the predecessor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The duties of the secretary revolve around human conditions and concerns in the United States. This includes advising the president on matters of health, welfare, and income security programs. It strives to administer the Department of Health and Human Services to carry out approved programs and make the public aware of the objectives of the department.[5]

Since the attacks of 9/11 and the subsequent anthrax attacks, the position has held a unique significance in the War on Terrorism. Upon his departure, then-Secretary Tommy Thompson remarked "I, for the life of me, cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply, because it is so easy to do..." Scholars concur, arguing that an attack on food (particularly milk) could affect approximately 100,000 people.[6]

The Department of Health and Human Services oversees 11 agencies including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Disease Control (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).[7]

List of secretaries[edit]

Parties

      Democratic       Republican

Secretaries of Health, Education, and Welfare[edit]

No. Portrait Name State of residence Took office Left office President(s)
1 Hobby-Oveta-Culp.jpg Oveta Culp Hobby Texas April 11, 1953 July 31, 1955 Dwight D. Eisenhower
2 Folsom.jpg Marion B. Folsom New York August 2, 1955 July 31, 1958
3 ArthurSFlemming.jpg Arthur S. Flemming Ohio August 1, 1958 January 19, 1961
4 Ribicoff.jpg Abraham A. Ribicoff Connecticut January 21, 1961 July 13, 1962 John F. Kennedy
5 Celebrez.jpg Anthony J. Celebrezze Ohio July 31, 1962 August 17, 1965
Lyndon B. Johnson
6 John W. Gardner, U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.jpg John W. Gardner California August 18, 1965 March 1, 1968
7 Wilburportrait.jpg Wilbur J. Cohen Michigan May 16, 1968 January 20, 1969
8 RobertHFinch.jpg Robert H. Finch California January 21, 1969 June 23, 1970 Richard Nixon
9 ElliotLeeRichardson.jpg Elliot L. Richardson Massachusetts June 24, 1970 January 29, 1973
10 Caspar Weinberger official photo.jpg Caspar W. Weinberger California February 12, 1973 August 8, 1975
Gerald Ford
11 F. David Mathews.jpg F. David Mathews Alabama August 8, 1975 January 20, 1977
12 JAC AR 2007.jpg Joseph A. Califano, Jr. District of Columbia January 25, 1977 August 3, 1979 Jimmy Carter
13 Patricia R. Harris.jpg Patricia R. Harris District of Columbia August 3, 1979 May 4, 1980[8]

Secretaries of Health and Human Services[edit]

No. Portrait Name State of residence Took office Left office President(s)
13 Patricia R. Harris.jpg Patricia R. Harris District of Columbia May 4, 1980[8] January 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter
14 RichardSchweiker.jpg Richard S. Schweiker Pennsylvania January 22, 1981 February 3, 1983 Ronald Reagan
15 Mmheckler.JPG Margaret M. Heckler Massachusetts March 9, 1983 December 13, 1985
16 Doc-bowen.jpg Otis R. Bowen Indiana December 13, 1985 January 20, 1989
17 SullivanLouis.jpg Louis W. Sullivan Georgia March 1, 1989 January 20, 1993 George H. W. Bush
18 Shalala portrait.jpg Donna Shalala Wisconsin January 22, 1993 January 20, 2001 Bill Clinton
19 Tommy Thompson 1.jpg Tommy G. Thompson Wisconsin February 2, 2001 January 26, 2005 George W. Bush
20 Mike Leavitt.jpg Michael O. Leavitt Utah January 26, 2005 January 20, 2009
21 Kathleen Sebelius official portrait.jpg Kathleen Sebelius Kansas April 28, 2009 June 9, 2014 Barack Obama
22 Sylvia Mathews Burwell official portrait.jpg Sylvia Mathews Burwell District of Columbia June 9, 2014 Incumbent

Living former secretaries[edit]

Health, education, and welfare[edit]

As of October 2014, there are two living former Secretaries of Health, Education and Welfare, the oldest being Joseph A. Califano, Jr. (1977-1979, born 1931). The most recent Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare to pass away was Caspar Weinberger (1973-1975), on March 28, 2006.

Name Term of office Date of birth
F. David Mathews 1975–1977 (1935-12-06) December 6, 1935 (age 78)
Joseph A. Califano, Jr. 1977–1979 (1931-05-15) May 15, 1931 (age 83)

Health and human services[edit]

As of October 2014, there are seven living former Secretaries of Health and Human services, the oldest being Richard Schweiker (1981-1983, born 1926). The most recent Secretary of Health and Human services to pass away was Otis R. Bowen (1985-1989), on May 4, 2013.

Name Term of office Date of birth
Richard S. Schweiker 1981–1983 (1926-06-01) June 1, 1926 (age 88)
Margaret M. Heckler 1983–1985 (1931-06-21) June 21, 1931 (age 83)
Louis W. Sullivan 1989–1993 (1933-11-03) November 3, 1933 (age 81)
Donna Shalala 1993–2001 (1941-02-14) February 14, 1941 (age 73)
Tommy G. Thompson 2001–2005 (1941-11-19) November 19, 1941 (age 73)
Michael O. Leavitt 2005-2009 (1951-02-11) February 11, 1951 (age 63)
Kathleen Sebellius 2009-2014 (1948-05-15) May 15, 1948 (age 66)

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.ropesgray.com/healthcarefraudabuse/
  2. ^ Leavitt, Michael O. (February 18, 2011). "Health reform's central flaw: Too much power in one office". The Washington Post. 
  3. ^ Budget Chief Is Choice as New Health Secretary
  4. ^ "Biography: HHS Seretary". United States Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "The President's Cabinet". Ben's Guide. 2007-02-01. Retrieved 2007-11-15. 
  6. ^ Cox, Simon (2006-08-22). "US food supply 'vulnerable to attack'". BBC News. Retrieved 2007-11-15. 
  7. ^ http://www.hhs.gov/about/foa/opdivs/index.html Operating divisions of the HHS.
  8. ^ a b Harris was Secretary on May 4, 1980, when the office changed names from Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare to Secretary of Health and Human Services. Because the department merely changed names, she did not need to be confirmed again, and her term continued uninterrupted.

External links[edit]

United States presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Secretary of Labor
Thomas Perez
12th in line Succeeded by
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Shaun Donovan