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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.

In 1979, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare was split into the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Education. The final Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare was Patricia Roberts Harris, who was also the first 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. [1] 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, Tommy Thompson, the first secretary since the installation of the war on terrorism 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 effect approximately 100,000 people. This leaves a large amount of responsibility to the position in the age of protecting humans in all ways possible. [2]

Chronological list


No. Name Portrait Took Office Left Office President served under
1 Patricia Roberts Harris August 3 1979 January 20 1981 Jimmy Carter
2 Richard Schultz Schweiker January 22 1981 February 3 1983 Ronald Reagan
3 Margaret Mary O'Shaughnessy Heckler March 9 1983 December 13 1985 Ronald Reagan
4 Otis Ray Bowen December 13 1985 January 20 1989 Ronald Reagan
5 Louis Wade Sullivan March 1 1989 January 20 1993 George H. W. Bush
6 Donna Edna Shalala January 22 1993 January 20 2001 Bill Clinton
7 Tommy George Thompson February 2 2001 January 26 2005 George W. Bush
8 Michael Okerlund Leavitt January 26 2005 Present George W. Bush


  • 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
  1. ^ The President's Cabinet. Ben's Guide (2007-02-01). Retrieved on 2007-11-15.
  2. ^ Cox, Simon. "US food supply 'vulnerable to attack'", BBC News, 2006-08-22. Retrieved on 2007-11-15. 
  3. ^ Patricia Roberts Harris Biography (1924-1985). A&E. Retrieved on 2007-11-15.
  4. ^ Indiana Governor Otis R. Bowen (b. 1918). Indiana Historical Bureau. Retrieved on 2007-11-15.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "United_States_Secretary_of_Health_and_Human_Services". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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