gaps, duplication, and contradictory or inconsistent federal policies.

  • Fostering effective partnerships—partnerships may be with state and local health and human services departments, health care providers and professionals, consumer groups, organizations that represent and serve people with chronic diseases or disabilities and their family caregivers, and other community-based organizations.

  • Strict avoidance of partisan politics in program design and in selection of personnel (Shalala, 1998).

  • Adopting only those policies that are supported by evidence of effectiveness or are consistent with established public health or health services research findings.

  • Focusing on, and investing in, human capital—attention to improving the workforce within and outside the department is necessary, to ensure high performance within HHS, the public health sector, and the health care system in general (Walker, 2003; see also Chapter 5).

Effective leadership by the secretary is essential to charting and integrating the public health agenda. As Secretary Leavitt has said (Schaeffer, 2007):

My job as “the leader” is to decide where we ought to go, to be effective in persuading other people that that’s the right destination, organizing all of the elements to conspire toward that end, and then making sure that there’s a system and a series of incentives that enable it.

Related Recommendation

  1. The secretary should ensure that all department health programs, including the reimbursement programs, reinforce public health priorities and strategies in order to provide a consistent framework for protecting the public from health risks, promoting health, preventing disease and disability, and providing health services for vulnerable populations in the most efficient, cost-effective ways.

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