Skip Navigation
  • Text Size: A A A
  • Print
  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Tweet
  • Share

The Executive Secretariat

Jennifer M. CannistraU.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Jennifer M. Cannistra
Executive Secretary

Jennifer Cannistra has served as Executive Secretary since November 2011. In this role, she heads the Department’s Executive Secretariat (Exec Sec) and serves as an advisor to the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Chief of Staff on the Department’s regulations and policies. Exec Sec manages the Department’s regulatory, policy, and decision-making processes by coordinating the development, clearance, and submission of all regulatory and policy documents for the Secretary’s review and approval. The staff has two components, described in more detail below: policy coordination and documents/regulations management.

Previously, Jen served as Senior Advisor for Legal Affairs in the Office of Health Reform at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she helped implement the Affordable Care Act. Earlier in the Administration, Jen served as Policy Analyst and Director of Special Projects in the White House Office of Health Reform, where she worked closely with officials from across the Administration to develop and pass health reform. Jen received a B.A. from Princeton University, a Masters degree from Oxford University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.


The Executive Secretariat

Room 603-H
200 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, DC 20201
Phone: 202-690-5627
Fax: 202-205-2135

Executive Secretary to the Department, Jennifer M. Cannistra

Deputy Executive Secretary, Oliver Potts

Policy Coordination

Policy Coordinators are policy neutral and confidential staff who manage the Department’s development and review of regulations, correspondence, Reports to Congress, and other policy documents, facilitating discussions to reconcile policy disagreements.  They are experts on HHS-administered programs who identify, manage, and help resolve the many complex, technical issues the Department must consider.  When an issue requires a Secretarial decision, they ensure that the Secretary receives thoroughly developed options and supporting materials on an issue.  Policy Coordinators also manage the Department’s regulatory review process. 

Documents and Regulations Management

The Office of Documents and Regulations Management (ODRM) staff oversee publication of departmental regulations and related documents and manage the circulation of Secretarial documents within the Department.  ODRM staff are familiar with Department programs and priorities, and they analyze reports, memoranda, and correspondence to the Secretary, assigning documents to the appropriate component within the Department for drafting and review. 

Content last reviewed on November 13, 2013