- United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
Formation August 3, 1979 First holder Patricia Roberts Harris Succession Twelfth 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.
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.
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.
List of Secretaries
Secretaries of Health, Education, and Welfare
No. Portrait Name State of Residence Took Office Left Office President(s) 1 Oveta Culp Hobby Texas April 11, 1953 July 31, 1955 Dwight D. Eisenhower 2 Marion B. Folsom New York August 2, 1955 July 31, 1958 3 Arthur S. Flemming Ohio August 1, 1958 January 19, 1961 4 Abraham A. Ribicoff Connecticut January 21, 1961 July 13, 1962 John F. Kennedy 5 Anthony J. Celebrezze Ohio July 31, 1962 August 17, 1965 Lyndon B. Johnson 6 John W. Gardner California August 18, 1965 March 1, 1968 7 Wilbur J. Cohen Wisconsin May 16, 1968 January 20, 1969 8 Robert Finch California January 21, 1969 June 23, 1970 Richard Nixon 9 Elliot Richardson Massachusetts June 24, 1970 January 29, 1973 10 Caspar Weinberger California February 12, 1973 August 8, 1975 Gerald Ford 11 F. David Mathews Alabama August 8, 1975 January 20, 1977 12 Joseph A. Califano, Jr. New York January 25, 1977 August 3, 1979 Jimmy Carter 13 Patricia R. Harris Illinois August 3, 1979 May 4, 1980
Secretaries of Health and Human Services
No. Portrait Name State of Residence Took Office Left Office President(s) 13 Patricia R. Harris Illinois May 4, 1980 January 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter 14 Richard Schweiker Pennsylvania January 22, 1981 February 3, 1983 Ronald Reagan 15 Margaret Heckler Massachusetts March 9, 1983 December 13, 1985 16 Otis R. Bowen Indiana December 13, 1985 January 20, 1989 17 Louis W. Sullivan Georgia March 1, 1989 January 20, 1993 George H. W. Bush 18 Donna Shalala Ohio January 22, 1993 January 20, 2001 Bill Clinton 19 Tommy Thompson Wisconsin February 2, 2001 January 26, 2005 George W. Bush 20 Mike Leavitt Utah January 26, 2005 January 20, 2009 21 Kathleen Sebelius Kansas April 28, 2009 Incumbent Barack Obama
Living former secretaries
Health, Education, and Welfare
Health and Human Services
- Richard Schweiker
- Margaret Heckler
- Otis R. Bowen
- Louis W. Sullivan
- Donna Shalala
- Tommy Thompson
- Mike Leavitt
- ^ http://www.ropesgray.com/healthcarefraudabuse/
- ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/17/AR2011021705824.html
- ^ United States Department of Health and Human Services-Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
- ^ "The President's Cabinet". Ben's Guide. 2007-02-01. http://bensguide.gpo.gov/9-12/government/national/cabinet.html. Retrieved 2007-11-15.
- ^ Cox, Simon (2006-08-22). "US food supply 'vulnerable to attack'". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5274022.stm. Retrieved 2007-11-15.
- ^ 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.
- United States Department of Health and Human Services Official Website
- Department Of Health And Human Services Meeting Notices and Rule Changes from The Federal Register RSS Feed
United States presidential line of succession Preceded by
Secretary of Labor
12th in line Succeeded by
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Leaders of the United States federal executive departments
Agriculture • Commerce • Defense • Education • Energy • Health and Human Services • Homeland Security • Housing and Urban Development • Interior • Justice • Labor • State • Transportation • Treasury • Veterans Affairs
Past department leaders: Commerce and Labor • Health, Education, and Welfare • Navy • Post Office • War
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