Working to find actionable solutions to the nation's key challenges.

Donna E. Shalala

Co-Chair, Prevention Initiative; Former Secretary of Health and Human Services

Donna E. Shalala co-chairs BPC’s Prevention Initiative. She served for eight years as President Bill Clinton’s secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), becoming the longest serving HHS secretary in U.S. history. Shalala was the president and a professor of political science at the University of Miami from 2001 to 2015.

In 2005, Shalala was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. In 2008, President George W. Bush presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. She has been elected to the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and others.

In 2007, President Bush picked Shalala to co-chair the Commission on Care for Returning Wounded Warriors with former Senator Bob Dole. In 2009, she was appointed chair of the Committee on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

One of the country’s first Peace Corp volunteers, she served in Iran from 1962 to 1964. She has held tenured professorships at Columbia University, the City University of New York, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She served as president of Hunter College from 1980 to 1987 and as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1987 to 1993. Shalala holds degrees from Western College for Women and Syracuse University, and over four dozen honorary degrees.

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