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Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health

Rosemarie (Rosie) Henson, MSSW, MPH
Senior Executive Service
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Rosemarie Henson is the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In 20 years of public health, policy, and executive management and leadership experience with major public health contributions in tobacco control, cancer control, childhood obesity, viral hepatitis, health disparities, and global health, she has created strategic partnerships to tackle some of the nation’s most pressing public health challenges.

Ms. Henson previously served as the Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Health. In this role, she oversaw strategic initiatives and collaborations with external organizations. Ms. Henson directed the redesign of the Let's Move! Cities, Towns, and Counties sub-initiative working in partnership with the Office of the First Lady and the National League of Cities to help local elected officials address the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic.  In addition, she led the HHS team that published and released the 50th Anniversary Surgeon General's report: The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress.  Her team received the Secretary's Award for Meritorious Service for this significant achievement.

Between 1990 and 2009, Ms. Henson worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and held various leadership positions. From 2001 to 2004, she served as the Director of CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, launching the National Quitline Program that provided access to cessation counseling for all smokers. In partnership with the World Health Organization, Ms. Henson led CDC's efforts to expand the Global Youth Surveillance System to 150 countries, and guided the publication and release of two Surgeon General's Reports.  One of her most celebrated achievements at CDC was the implementation of the first-ever National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, which has resulted in preventive screening for millions of underserved women.

In 2004, she became the Deputy Director of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion with the mission of advancing the prevention and control of chronic diseases. She is credited with strengthening the Center’s portfolio of prevention programs through enhanced collaboration with state health agencies and national partners.   

Ms. Henson holds a Master of Public Health and a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University.  She has been the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service, the Surgeon General's Certificate of Appreciation for Exemplary Efforts, and the Jeffrey P. Koplan Award for outstanding leadership in global tobacco surveillance.