Donna Shalala, former HHS secretary, joins Brookings

The Brookings Institution has announced that Donna Shalala, former secretary of health and human services (HHS), will become a distinguished fellow at the think tank.

Donna Shalala (Associated Press)

Shalala will draw on her role as secretary of HHS where she oversaw Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in the work of the Economic Studies program at Brookings and its Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform.

“We are honored that Dr. Shalala will lend her expertise, experience, and boundless energy to Brookings’s efforts to improve public policy,” said Brookings President Strobe Talbott in a released statement.

“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,” said Karen Dynan, vice president and co-director of Economic Studies at Brookings.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Shalala as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services where she served for eight years, becoming the longest serving HHS secretary in U.S. history.

Shalala also 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.

Shalala joins other Brookings distinguished fellows Itamar Rabinovich, an Israeli diplomat and university president; Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania; Ambassador Thomas Pickering; and Javier Solana, former secretary general of NATO and high representative for foreign and security policy of the European Union.

Allen McDuffee writes about politics and policy and covered think tanks for The Washington Post from 2011 to 2013. He blogs and hosts a podcast at and is currently working on a book about the influence of think tanks in Washington.


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