Top health positions filled

March - April, 2009 | Volume 8, Issue 2

Headshot of Dr. Kathleen Sebelius
Kathleen Sebelius was
twice elected governor
of Kansas.

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was expected to win confirmation as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and said at her first Senate hearing she will work to strengthen the NIH.

William V. Corr, former head of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids was expected to be confirmed as deputy secretary.

Dr. Howard Koh, an associate dean at Harvard School of Public Health, was nominated as assistant secretary for health, the position that directly oversees NIH, CDC and FDA among other responsibilities. He was formerly Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Health and has worked on tobacco-cessation with a number of organizations, including the National Cancer Institute.

President Obama also named, subject to Senate confirmation, a number of officials whose positions have global health implications. They include:

  • Dr. Esther Brimmer as assistant secretary for international organizations. She was a member of the office of policy planning at the State Department in 1999 and 2000.
  • Dr. Phil Gordon as assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs. He was director for European affairs at the National Security Council under President Clinton.
  • Melanne Verveer as ambassador-at-large for global women's issues, a new post. She was an assistant to President Clinton and chief of staff to first lady Hillary Clinton.
  • Dr. Margaret Hamburg as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. She is a former assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services and former health commissioner for New York City.
  • Dr. Joshua Sharfstein as deputy director of FDA. He was health commissioner for Baltimore and led the transition team for the agency.

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