Sheila Burke

Chair, Federal Public Policy Group, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC

Sheila P. Burke is a Faculty Research Fellow at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy and a member of the faculty at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She also chairs the federal public policy group at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC. She is also a Distinguished Visitor at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University Law Center and a Research Professor at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute.

Burke joined the Smithsonian Institution in 2000 as Under Secretary for American Museums and National Programs and in 2004 became Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer, a position in which she served until September 2007. The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. It has more than 6,000 employees, including 500 scientists, and annually accommodates approximately 23 million visitors.

As Deputy Secretary, Burke was responsible for all financial and administrative activities of the Smithsonian, including its facilities and engineering, human resources, information technology, communications and government relations, as well as the policies, objectives and staffing of ten of its museums, centers and offices including the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. She also assisted in the management of the Institution’s 35 Museum and other Advisory Boards as well as major donor relationships and dealt regularly with the Smithsonian’s governing body, the Board of Regents.

From 1996 to 2000, she was Executive Dean and lecturer in public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The Executive Dean is the School’s Chief Operating Officer with management and oversight for the Degree Programs, Executive Education, Financial Services, Information Services, Human Resources, Communications and Facilities and Services. She also taught classes on health and government policy in the undergraduate, graduate and executive education programs.

Burke was Chief of Staff to Senator Bob Dole, from 1986 to 1996, when he was Senate Minority and then the Majority Leader. In 1995, she was elected as Secretary of the Senate, the chief administrative officer of the U.S. Senate. Starting as a member of the staff of the Senate Finance Committee in 1978 she was responsible for legislation relating to Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs. Burke became Deputy Staff Director of the Committee in 1982 and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Senate Majority Leader in 1985.

Burke served as a member of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission from 2000 to 2007, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Kaiser Family Foundation, from 1999 to 2008 serving as Chair of the Board from 2005 to 2008. Burke serves on the boards of The Chubb Corporation and WellPoint Inc., is a member of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, the Board of Visitors of Georgetown University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies, the Board of the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Council of the Institute of Medicine.

She was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences in 2004 and to the National Academy of Public Administration. Burke, a native of San Francisco, resides in the Washington, D.C. area. She earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University in 1982 and a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from the University of San Francisco in 1973. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Military Medicine from the University of the Uniformed Health Services in 1999 and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Marymount University in 2005. Early in her career, she worked as a staff nurse in Berkeley, Calif.