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Encyclopedia > Department of Health and Human Services
Dept. of Health and Human Services

Seal of the Department of Health and Human Services

Established: October 17, 1979
Activated: May 4, 1980
Secretary: Michael O. Leavitt
Deputy Secretary: Claude A. Allen
Budget: $543.2 billion (2004)
Employees: 67,000 (2004)

The United States Department of Health and Human Services, often abbreviated HHS, is a Cabinet department of the United States government with the goal of protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services.


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 G.I. Bill and Veterans' Administration into the Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Department of Education. Both began operation on May 4, 1980.


It is administered by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, who is appointed by the President of the United States. The current Secretary is Michael O. Leavitt.


The United States Public Health Service, led by the Surgeon General, is the uniformed service of this agency.


Operating Divisions

  • Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (OS)-currently lead by Secretary Michael Leavitt
  • Administration for Children and Families (ACF) -currently lead by Assistant Secretary Wade Horn
  • Administration on Aging (AOA)- current lead by Assistant Secretary Josephina Carbonell
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)- currently lead by Administrator Carolyn Clancy
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)-currently lead by Director Julie Gerberding
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)- currently lead by Director Julie Gerberding
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) (formerly the Health Care Financing Administration) -currently lead by Administrator Mark McClellan
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - currently lead by Acting Administrator Les Crawford
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)- currently lead by Acting Administrator Betty Duke
  • Indian Health Service (IHS) -currently lead by Director Charles Grim
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) -currently lead by Director Elias Zerhouni
  • Program Support Center (PSC) -currently lead by Director Philip Van Landingham
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)-currently lead by Administrator Charles Curie

It no longer includes the Social Security Administration, which was made independent in 1995.


Related legislation

External links



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