Thomas R. Burke has been appointed chief of staff for the new secretary of Health and Human Services, Otis R. Bowen.

Burke, a former official of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), which runs Medicare and Medicaid, and before that a health official in the Pentagon, has been Bowen's acting chief of staff since Dec. 16.

He was the executive director of the Social Security Advisory Council headed by Bowen from 1982-84 that worked on proposals to strengthen the financing of Medicare programs.

Bowen also announced last week the appointment of Charles R. Schuster as director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Schuster, 55, is director of the University of Chicago's Drug Abuse Research Center. For the past decade, he has been an adviser to the World Health Organization on international regulation of drugs of abuse.

HHS is in a period of high personnel turnover. With Bowen anxious to put his own team in place, many top department officials are resigning.

C. McClain Haddow, chief of staff of the department under Secretary Margaret M. Heckler and now acting head of HCFA, is resigning Feb. 1 to set up a consulting firm.

Also leaving HHS Feb. 1 is Claire del Real, the deputy assistant secretary of HHS for public affairs who has been the agency's chief spokesman for the past 4 1/2 years.

She will open a Washington governmental affairs office for International Medical Centers, a chain of Health Maintenance Organizations.

Another departing HHS official is Carol Kelly, acting associate administrator of HCFA for policy, who is joining the Washington legislative office of Equitable Life Insurance.

Meanwhile, Richard Teske, HCFA associate administrator for external affairs, will become one of the HHS deputy assistant secretaries for public affairs.