As the Obama Administration continues emphasis on health care reform, newly appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius today (May 11, 2009) announced the establishment of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Health Reform. to spearhead HHS efforts to pass urgently needed health reform this year and coordinate closely with the White House Office of Health Reform. Both offices were created by an April 8 Executive Order to help deliver on one of President Obama’s top priorities.
The following key staff members have been appointed to the HHS Office of Health Reform:
Jeanne Lambrew, Ph.D., Director of the HHS Office of Health Reform: Jeanne Lambrew will lead the health reform effort in the Office, helping the Secretary to marshal the experience and assets of the department. Dr. Lambrew was previously an associate professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and worked on health policy in the Clinton Administration.
Michael Hash, Senior Advisor: Michael Hash will serve as a senior advisor, running the inter-agency process for developing specific aspects of health reform legislation consistent with the President’s priorities. He will be an assignee at the White House Office of Health Reform and assist in the preparation of Administration positions and in communication with the Congress. Prior to his appointment, Hash held senior positions at the Health Care Financing Administration (now CMS) and on the staffs of the House Energy and Commerce Committee as well as a private health policy consulting firm.
Neera Tanden, Senior Advisor: Neera Tanden will work on developing health care policies for HHS and the Administration. She is the former domestic policy director for the Obama-Biden campaign and policy director for the Hillary Clinton campaign, and oversaw health care work on both campaigns. She has worked in think tanks, in the Senate and in the Clinton Administration.
Linda Douglass, Director of Communications: Linda Douglass will serve as the director of communications in the Office of Health Reform, working as an assignee at the White House Office of Reform, coordinating communications. Before joining the administration, Douglass was a traveling spokesperson for President Obama’s 2008 campaign and was chief spokesperson for the Presidential Inaugural Committee 2009. She spent most of her career as a journalist, most recently as a managing editor for National Journal and prior to that as Chief Capitol Hill Correspondent for ABC News
Meena Seshamani, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Policy Analysis: Meena Seshamani will coordinate the quantitative and qualitative analyses on health reform conducted throughout HHS. Before joining the Administration, Dr. Seshamani was a resident physician in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins University. She is a health economist who has published widely on issues of health expenditures, health care financing, and their impact on health outcomes. She advised Senator Kennedy on a range of issues including public health and prevention, community health centers, health professions training and health disparities. Lewis will begin work in the Office of Health Reform on May 25.
Jennifer Cannistra, Policy Analyst and Director of Special Projects: Jennifer Cannistra will work as an assignee at the White House and will lead special projects undertaken by the HHS Office of Health Reform that require close coordination with the White House. Previously, Cannistra served as the Pennsylvania State Policy Director for the Obama campaign. Prior to joining Obama for America in September 2007, Cannistra served as a law clerk to the Honorable Faith S. Hochberg, D.N.J. and as an attorney in Washington, D.C.
Karen Richardson, Outreach Coordinator: Karen Richardson will be responsible for conducting outreach to stakeholders on behalf of HHS, as an assignee at the White House Office, as it relates to advancing the President’s agenda for health reform. She was previously the policy director at the Democratic National Committee (DNC). She was policy director for Obama for America in Iowa and several states throughout the Presidential primary. Richardson began working for President Obama at his Senate office in August 2005, beginning as an intern and then serving as deputy to the policy director.
Michael Halle, Special Assistant: Michael Halle will be responsible for coordinating office projects and activities as well as providing research assistance. Halle worked for the Presidential Inaugural Committee and Obama for America, contributing to field operations in Iowa and North Carolina. Prior to joining the Obama campaign he was an intern at the Center for American Progress with the health policy team.
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