Regional Health Administrators
As the senior federal public health official and scientist in the region, the Regional Health Administrator performs essential functions for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in three major areas: prevention, preparedness, and agency-wide coordination. These functions directly and indirectly support the work of the Department and the individual federal agencies.
Putting Prevention into Practice
The RHAs promote real-world implementation of HHS’s broad prevention mission and specific prevention initiatives in the field, such as:
- The National Prevention Strategy
- Seasonal influenza outreach activities
- Regional coordination of the White House Let’s Move initiative
- New national strategic action plans for HIV/AIDS prevention
- Tobacco control
- Public health systems quality
- Education of a wide variety of partners and constituents regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its many prevention and health promotion components.
Their unique position within the field allows RHAs to serve as effective, high-level liaisons throughout the country with Federal, State, local and Tribal health officials on all matters of public health and prevention.
Providing Regional Support to the HHS Operating and Staff Divisions
An important focus of the activities of the RHAs is to provide regional traction and field support for the implementation of the specific initiatives, programs, and directives of the HHS operating divisions (OPDIVs) and staff divisions (STAFFDIVs). RHAs support multiple OPDIV-specific prevention initiatives through regional prevention collaboratives that engage regional leadership including initiatives from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Administration for Community Living (ACL/AoA), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Administration for Children and Families (ACF). For example, the RHAs play a role in engaging multiple community-level and governmental partners to promote the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/CMS-led Million Hearts Campaign. Equally important, RHAs perform ad-hoc support functions for the OPDIVs and STAFFDIVs for the coordination of all of their major programs and initiatives including the CDC’s Community Transformation Grants and the FDA’s new initiatives regarding tobacco use prevention and cessation.
Facilitating Agency-wide Coordination and Collaboration Across HHS Agencies
Perhaps the most important role of the RHAs is to assist HHS’ coordination in a fashion that maximizes the effectiveness of the agencies in their overall mission, as well as the effectiveness of the various individual programs. The Regional Health Administrator’s mission-critical task in this regard is to help ensure that efforts to promote health are well-aligned in the field – catalyzing collaboration where appropriate, minimizing redundancy, and providing feedback to the agencies and the Secretary to maximize programmatic effectiveness and to ensure a well integrated effort for the Department overall. In each region, the Regional Health Administrator is uniquely situated to provide support to various initiatives of all OPDIV health missions, especially those which cross functional program lines.