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United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
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United States Secretary of Health and Human Services

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]

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius was sworn in as Secretary of Health and Human Services by the United States Senate on April 29, 2009.[3]

Contents


Duties

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.[4]

After 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.[5]

List of Secretaries

Parties

Secretaries of Health, Education, and Welfare

No. Portrait Name State of Residence Took Office Left Office President(s)
75px Oveta Culp Hobby Texas April 11, 1953 July 31, 1955 Dwight D. Eisenhower
75px Marion B. Folsom New York August 2, 1955 July 31, 1958
75px Arthur S. Flemming Ohio August 1, 1958 January 19, 1961
75px Abraham A. Ribicoff Connecticut January 21, 1961 July 13, 1962 John F. Kennedy
75px Anthony J. Celebrezze Ohio July 31, 1962 August 17, 1965
Lyndon B. Johnson
75px John W. Gardner California August 18, 1965 March 1, 1968
75px Wilbur J. Cohen Wisconsin May 16, 1968 January 20, 1969
75px Robert Finch California January 21, 1969 June 23, 1970 Richard Nixon
75px Elliot Richardson Massachusetts June 24, 1970 January 29, 1973
75px Caspar Weinberger California February 12, 1973 August 8, 1975
Gerald Ford
75px F. David Mathews Alabama August 8, 1975 January 20, 1977
75px Joseph A. Califano, Jr. New York January 25, 1977 August 3, 1979 Jimmy Carter
75px Patricia R. Harris Illinois August 3, 1979 May 4, 1980[6]

Secretaries of Health and Human Services

No. Portrait Name State of Residence Took Office Left Office President(s)
75px Patricia R. Harris Illinois May 4, 1980[6] January 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter
75px Richard Schweiker Pennsylvania January 22, 1981 February 3, 1983 Ronald Reagan
75px Margaret Heckler Massachusetts March 9, 1983 December 13, 1985
75px Otis R. Bowen Indiana December 13, 1985 January 20, 1989
75px Louis W. Sullivan Georgia March 1, 1989 January 20, 1993 George H. W. Bush
75px Donna Shalala Ohio January 22, 1993 January 20, 2001 Bill Clinton
75px Tommy Thompson Wisconsin February 2, 2001 January 26, 2005 George W. Bush
75px Mike Leavitt Utah January 26, 2005 January 20, 2009
75px Kathleen Sebelius Kansas April 28, 2009 Incumbent Barack Obama

Living former secretaries

Health, Education, and Welfare

Health and Human Services

References

External links

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