Donna E. Shalala, Ph.D., who served as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the full eight years of the Clinton administration, is joining the Brookings Institution as the first Visiting Distinguished Fellow of the Center for Public Service, effective February 5th. She will remain at the centrist Washington think tank until she becomes president of the University of Miami this summer.
At Brookings, Dr. Shalala will work with the Center for Public Service, analyzing and writing about managing large government organizations, recruiting talented young people to public service, and improving overall government performance in an era of growing responsibilities, rising public expectations, and limited administrative resources.
“We are delighted to have Donna Shalala at Brookings, where she can draw upon both her distinguished academic background and her real-world experience in government to illuminate current issues in the field of public management,” said Michael H. Armacost, president of the Brookings Institution.
Dr. Shalala’s visiting fellowship will be supported by funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. She will be joined at Brookings by John J. Callahan, Ph.D., who served as assistant secretary for management and budget and chief financial officer at HHS. Callahan also served as chief of staff for Senator Jim Sasser (D-TN), then-chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.
Dr. Shalala was the longest serving Secretary of Health and Human Services in history. She directed the government’s welfare reform process, made health insurance available to an estimated 2.5 million children, raised child immunization rates to the highest levels in history, directed reforms of the Food and Drug Administration’s drug approval process and food safety system, and revitalized the National Institutes of Health.
As chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1987-1993, Dr. Shalala was the first woman to head a Big Ten University and was named by Business Week as one of the five best managers in higher education. Prior to that, Dr. Shalala served as president of Hunter College for seven years, and as an assistant secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Carter Administration. From 1975-1977, she served as treasurer of New York City’s Municipal Assistance Corporation, the organization that helped rescue the city from the brink of bankruptcy.
A scholar of state and local government and finance, Dr. Shalala earned her Ph.D. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 1970 and her B.A. from Western College for Women in 1962. Dr. Shalala was born in Cleveland, Ohio.
Paul Light, vice president and director of the Governmental Studies program at Brookings, noted that Washington Post reporter and columnist David Broder wrote at the end of the Clinton administration, “Shalala leaves behind a reputation as one of the most successful government managers of modern times.”
The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and policy solutions. Its mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations for policymakers and the public.