News Release

Donna Shalala, Former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Joins Brookings

March 29, 2012

The Honorable Donna E. Shalala, president of the University of Miami and former U.S. secretary of health and human services, has agreed to affiliate with the Brookings Institution as a distinguished fellow, Brookings President Strobe Talbott announced today.

While remaining at the University of Miami, Shalala will participate in the work of the Economic Studies program at Brookings and its Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform. She will participate in a wide range of events and research projects and advance the program’s key initiatives on health care and social policy.

“We are honored that Dr. Shalala will lend her expertise, experience, and boundless energy to Brookings’s efforts to improve public policy,” said Talbott. “She will be a valuable asset to the Institution.”

In 1993, President Clinton appointed Shalala as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) where she served for eight years, becoming the longest serving HHS secretary in U.S. history. In that role, Shalala oversaw a wide variety of programs including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration. At the end of her tenure The Washington Post described her as “one of the most successful government managers of modern times.”

“We are delighted that Donna will be joining the Economic Studies program and my colleagues and I look forward to working with her,” said Karen Dynan, vice president and co-director of Economic Studies at Brookings. “I am certain that her many years of outstanding public service will be invaluable as we address America’s critical economic and health policy challenges.”

Following her service in HHS, Dr. Shalala became professor of political science and president of the University of Miami in 2001. During her tenure, the university has solidified its position among top U.S. research universities. In 2007, President George W. Bush chose Shalala to co-chair with Senator Bob Dole the Commission on Care for Returning Wounded Warriors, to evaluate how wounded service members transition from active duty to civilian society. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008.

Shalala received her A.B. degree in history from Western College for Women and later served in Iran as one of the country’s first Peace Corps volunteers. She received her Ph.D. degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

She served in the Carter administration from 1977-80 as assistant secretary for policy development and research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She later held tenured professorships at Columbia University, the City University of New York (CUNY), and the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She served as president of Hunter College of the City University of New York from 1980 to 1987 and as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1987 to 1993.

Brookings’s distinguished fellows are individuals of particularly noteworthy distinction whose work across several fields of public policy puts them at the pinnacle of worldwide research and policy impact. Distinguished fellows are actively engaged in the life of the Institution, often with more than one of Brookings’s five research programs. In assuming the title, Dr. Shalala joins Itamar Rabinovich, an Israeli diplomat, scholar, and university president; Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania; Thomas Pickering, a career ambassador for the U.S. and former permanent representative to the United Nations; and Javier Solana, former secretary general of NATO and high representative for foreign and security policy of the European Union.

About Brookings

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to conduct in-depth, nonpartisan research to improve policy and governance at local, national, and global levels.