The United States Department of Health and Human Services
), is a Cabinet
department of the United States government
with the goal of protecting the health
of all Americans and providing essential human services. Its motto
is "Improving the health, safety, and well-being of America
The department was created when President Jimmy Carter signed the Department of Education Organization Act (PL 96-88) into law on October 17, 1979. It split the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, (HEW), which included the Social Security Administration, agencies constituting the Public Health Service, Family Support Administration, and the Office of Education into the Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Department of Education. Both began operation on May 4, 1980. (In 1995, the Social Security Administration was removed from the Department of Health and Human Services, and established as an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States Government).
It is administered by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, currently Michael O. Leavitt, who is appointed by the President of the United States. The United States Public Health Service (PHS) is the main division of the HHS and is led by the Assistant Secretary for Health. The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the uniformed service of the PHS, is led by the Surgeon General who is responsible for addressing matters concerning public health as authorized by the Secretary or by the Assistant Secretary of Health in addition to his primary mission of administering the Commissioned Corps.
In 2002, the department released Healthy People 2010, a national strategic initiative for improving the health of Americans.
Operating divisions and agencies
- Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (OS) - currently led by Secretary Michael Leavitt
- Office of the Deputy Sercretary of Health and Human Services (ODS) - currently led Deputy Secretary by Tevi Troy
- Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) - currently led by Assistant Secretary, Admiral Joxel García, USPHS
Former operating divisions and agencies
The Department of Health and Human Services' budget includes more than 300 programs, covering a wide spectrum of activities. Some highlights include:
- Health and social science research
- Preventing disease, including immunization services
- Assuring food and drug safety
- Medicare (health insurance for elderly and disabled Americans) and Medicaid (health insurance for low-income people)
- Health information technology
- Financial assistance and services for low-income families
- Improving maternal and infant health
- Head Start (pre-school education and services)
- Faith-based and community initiatives
- Preventing child abuse and domestic violence
- Substance abuse treatment and prevention
- Services for older Americans, including home-delivered meals
- Comprehensive health services for Native Americans
- Medical preparedness for emergencies, including potential terrorism.