Department of Health

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The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), founded in 1953 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is a cabinet-level department of the United States federal government. Many people simply refer to it as just “the health department.”

The HHS provides essential human services and strives to monitor and protect the health of all U.S. citizens. The Secretary of Health and Human Services serves as the department head and is appointed by the U.S. president and the Senate.

HHS Responsibilities

According to the HHS website, their goal is “to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering advances . . . in medicine, public health, and social services.”

In short, the HHS oversees all U.S. government-run health, welfare, and health IT programs and initiatives. As a whole, they have a larger budget than all other federal agencies combined. However, the HHS is made up of several separate agencies, including the: 

  1. Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
  2. Administration for Community Living (ACL)
  3. Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ)
  4. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  6. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
  7. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  8. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
  9. Indian Health Service (IHS)
  10. National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  11. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (USPHS) is also associated with the HHS. It is a federal uniformed service that the surgeon general oversees.

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