Government Agency

Biden Administration – Department of Health and Human Services


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This profile contains Biden Administration nominations and appointments made at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Nominations and Appointments

Xavier Becerra is Secretary of Health and Human Services. He formerly served as the 33rd Attorney General of California, and before that served twelve terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.1 Becerra is listed on Demand Justice’s Supreme Court shortlist.2

Becerra was narrowly confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a 50-49 vote. Republicans had expressed concerns about his record on abortion, gun control, immigration, and support for Medicare-for-all.3 In February 2021, eleven Republican senators and more than sixty representatives wrote a letter to President Biden asking him to withdraw Becerra’s nomination, citing what they viewed as his “lack of healthcare experience, enthusiasm for replacing private health insurance with government-run Medicare-for-all, and embrace of radical policies on immigration, abortion, and religious liberty.”4 That same month, representatives from more than 60 pro-life organizations wrote a letter urging senators to reject Becerra’s nomination, calling his views on abortion “radical.”5

Monica Bertagnolli is director of the National Institutes of Health, having previously been director of the National Cancer Institute. Before that she was a professor at Harvard Medical School, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a member of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s centers for Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment and Sarcoma. She was group chair of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology from 2011 to 2022, and was chief of the division of Surgical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center from 2007 to 2018. She has served as president and chair of the board of directors of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and as a board member of the American Cancer Society and the Prevent Cancer Foundation.6

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure is Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. She formerly served as Managing Director at Manatt Health. Before that, she was Deputy Director for Policy at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and Director of Coverage Policy at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Earlier in her career, she served as a member of the Democratic staff for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, and as a program examiner and Medicaid analyst for the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.7 She has also served as a Senior Policy Advisor for Breakaway Policy Strategies8 and as a member of the board of directors of FAIR Health.9

Mandy Cohen is director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She was formerly the executive vice president of Aledade and the chief executive officer of Aledade Care Solution. Before that, she was Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and was chief of staff and chief operating officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the Obama Administration.10 Cohen was a co-founder of Doctors for Obama and later served as executive director of the rebranded Doctors for America until 2011.11

Hannah Katch is a senior advisor at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.12 She had formerly served as a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities since 2016, and before that was an administrator for the California Medicaid program.13 She formerly served as a board member at Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.14

Rachel Levine is Assistant Secretary for Health. She formerly served as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and prior to that as Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General. Before that, she served as Vice-Chair for Clinical Affairs in the pediatrics department, and Chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders, at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. She has been a Professor at the Penn State College of Medicine, President of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and a fellow at the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, and the Academy for Eating Disorders.15

Levine was confirmed by a 52-48 vote. Some Republican lawmakers questioned her response to the COVID-19 pandemic while serving as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) attributed the pandemic’s severe impact on the state’s nursing homes “in part to poor decisions and oversight by Dr. Levine and the Wolf administration.”16

Vivek Murthy is Surgeon General of the United States. He formerly served in that same role during the Obama Administration, having been confirmed by the Senate in 2014. Prior to that, he co-founded the HIV/AIDS education organization VISIONS, the India-based community health partnership Swasthya Project, the technology company TrialNetworks, and the nonprofit Doctors for America.17

Andrea Palm is Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services. She most recently served as Secretary-Designee of Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services. During the Obama Administration, she served in multiple roles at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services including Acting Assistant Secretary for Legislation, Counselor, Chief of Staff, and Senior Counselor to the Secretary.18 She also formerly worked for then-Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and former Representative Robert Matsui (D-CA).19

Carrie Pugh served as Director of External Affairs in the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs until May 2022, when she left to start the firm 8821 Strategies.20 Prior to her appointment, she was senior director of the campaigns and elections department at the National Education Association (NEA). Before joining the NEA in 2007, she held multiple positions over six years at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), including national field director, Midwest political director, and deputy political director and presidential program manager.21 Pugh has served on the boards of the Progressive State Leaders Committee, the AAPI Victory Alliance, and ProgressNow, and was chair of the Democracy Alliance’s New American Majority Fund.22

Howard Zucker is Deputy Director for Global Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He was most recently a visiting professor at New York University’s School of Global Health. From 2015 to 2021, he was commissioner of the New York State Department of Health. Before that, he served as assistant director general at the World Health Organization, director of the pediatric intensive care unit at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and held various roles in academia.23 During the George W. Bush Administration, he was a White House Fellow under then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, and later became Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health.24

Zucker resigned his position as New York State Health Commissioner in 2021 due to controversy over how he had handled the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, his department ordered New York nursing homes to admit residents even if they had been infected with COVID-19, which critics argued helped spread the virus among vulnerable nursing home populations. A subsequent report by the state’s attorney general found that the administration of then-governor Andrew Cuomo had undercounted the number of COVID-19-related deaths among nursing home residents by as much as 50 percent.25 A March 2022 audit from the Office of the New York State Comptroller concluded that the state’s health department had concealed at least 4,100 nursing home deaths related to COVID-19. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli called the findings “extremely troubling” and said that “the public was misled by those at the highest level of state government through distortion and suppression of the facts when New Yorkers deserved the truth.”26


  1. “Health Nominees and Appointees: Xavier Becerra.” Biden-Harris Transition. Accessed December 11, 2020. Available at:
  2. “Demand Justice’s Supreme Court Shortlist.” Demand Justice. Accessed June 2, 2021. Available at:
  3. Henney, Megan. “Senate Confirms Xavier Becerra as Biden’s HHS Secretary Despite GOP Opposition.” Fox News. March 18, 2021. Available at:
  4. DeSanctis, Alexandra. “Exclusive: Republicans Demand Biden Withdraw Becerra’s Nomination to Head HHS.” The National Review. February 22, 2021. Available at:
  5. Olohan, Mary Margaret. “Over 60 Pro-Life Leaders Call on Senate to Reject Biden Nominee Becerra Over ‘Radical Abortion Views.'” The Daily Signal. February 22, 2021. Available at:
  6. “NIH Director Monica M. Bertagnolli, M.D.” National Institutes of Health. Accessed February 2, 2024. Available at:
  7. “Chiquita Brooks-LaSure.” Manatt. September 19, 2020 (accessed via Wayback Machine). Available at:
  8. “Chiquita Brooks-LaSure.” Linkedin. Accessed May 26, 2021. Available at:
  9. “About us.” FAIR Health. January 1, 2020 (accessed via Wayback Machine). Available at:
  10. “Mandy K. Cohen.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed July 27, 2023. Available at:
  11. “Mandy Cohen.” Linkedin. Accessed July 27, 2023. Available at:
  12. “U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Announces Additional Biden Administration Staff Appointments.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. April 27, 2021. Available at:
  13. “Hannah Katch.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. February 15, 2021 (accessed via Wayback Machine). Available at:
  14. Public Financial Disclosure Report (OGE Form 278e). Hannah Katch. February 22, 2021. Posted by Biden’s Basement. Available at:
  15. “Department of Health Executive Leadership.” Pennsylvania Department of Health. January 1, 2021 (accessed via WayBack Machine). Available at:
  16. Southwick, Ron. “Pa. Sen. Pat Toomey Votes Against Confirming Rachel Levine for Biden Administration Post.” March 24, 2021. Available at:
  17. “Health Nominees and Appointees: Dr. Vivek Murthy.” Biden-Harris Transition. January 19, 2021 (accessed via WayBack Machine). Available at:
  18. “Andrea Palm.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed May 13, 2021. Available at:
  19. “Executive Team Bios.” Wisconsin Department of Health Services. November 1, 2020 (accessed via WayBack Machine. Available at:
  20. Sarah Owermohle and Krista Mahr. “Four States Bolster Postpartum Care Amid Mortality Crisis.” Politico Pulse. May 26, 2022. Available at:
  21. 8821 Strategies official website. Accessed August 5, 2022. Available at:
  22. Public Financial Disclosure Report (OGE Form 278e). Carrie Hoojoo Pugh. March 12, 2021. Posted by Biden’s Basement. Available at:
  23. “Howard Zucker, MD, JD.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed June 8, 2023. Available at:
  24. “Governor Cuomo Announces Administration Appointments.” New York State Governor’s Office. January 13, 2015 (accessed via WayBack Machine). Available at:
  25. Luis Ferre-Sadurni. “Howard Zucker, Who Led Cuomo’s Pandemic Response, Resigns.” The New York Times. September 23, 2021. Available at:
  26. Josh Christenson. “Government Report Sheds New Light on Cuomo Nursing Home Scandal.” The Washington Free Beacon. March 16, 2022. Available at:

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Xavier Becerra
    Secretary of Health and Human Services
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