President Obama taps Howard Koh for Assistant Secretary for Health

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HSPH professor is former Mass Commissioner of Public Health

President Barack Obama
announced today his intent to nominate Howard Koh, the Harvey V. Fineberg
Professor of the Practice of Public Health at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH),
to be assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services

Koh is also the school’s Associate Dean for
Public Health Practice and Director of the Division of Public Health Practice.

The U. S. assistant secretary for health is responsible for the major health
agencies, including the CDC, FDA and NIH, and is the leading health
advisor to the Secretary of HHS.

Koh has served as the Principal
Investigator of multiple research grants related to community-based
participatory research, cancer prevention, health disparities, tobacco control,
and emergency preparedness. He is also Director of the HSPH Center
for Public Health Preparedness

From 1997 to 2003, Koh served as
Commissioner of Public Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 1997 to 2003. In that post he emphasized the power of prevention for the Massachusetts
Department of Public Health, which included four public health hospitals and a
staff of over 3,000 professionals.

A graduate of Yale
College and Yale University School of
Medicine, Howard Koh completed his postgraduate training and chief residencies
at Boston City Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.
He has earned board certification in internal medicine, hematology,
oncology, and dermatology, as well as a Master of Public Health degree.
He is
an elected member of the Institute
of Medicine
and Chair of
the Board of Scientific Counselors for the CDC’s Coordinating Office
Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response
. Koh has published
over 200
articles in the medical and public health literature. He has received
awards and honors including the Distinguished Service Award from the
Cancer Society
. President Bill Clinton appointed Howard Koh to the
National Cancer
Advisory Board
, and he served on the board from from 2000 through 2002.

In recognition of his contributions to early
detection and prevention of melanoma, the Boston Red Sox designated Koh a “Medical All-Star” (2003).