Chief Advisor for Policy and Strategy
Caya Lewis Atkins was appointed Chief Advisor for Policy and Strategy for the Office of Global Affairs in August 2023. She is a global and United States domestic health policy expert with a specialization in women’s health, public health, and advocacy. She has spent the last few years in Lusaka, Zambia and Geneva, Switzerland, where she was the senior Technical Coordinator for AGYW at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. In that role, she coordinated work across the Global Fund to reduce HIV incidence in adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) and managed the AGYW Strategic Initiative for the 13 AGYW focus countries.
Immediately prior to this position, Ms. Atkins was consulting on health policy strategy, engagement and capacity building through her firm GlobalDC Strategies and was the founding director of the HBCU Global Health Consortium, a group of medical schools implementing HIV quality improvement interventions in hospitals in Zambia.
Prior to that, Ms. Atkins was Deputy Coordinator for Multi-Sector Responsibility and Diplomacy in the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) at the U.S. Department of State. In that role she led the multilateral diplomacy and private sector engagement work of the office including collaboration and negotiation with high-ranking members of governments, multilateral organizations including WHO and UNAIDS, the private-sector and foundations, and NGOs. OGAC oversees the implementation of the $6 billion U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) operating in more than 36 countries through bilateral and regional programs.
Before joining PEPFAR, she was a Counselor to the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services and Chief of Staff to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the Obama Administration and Deputy Staff Director for Health at the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions under the leadership of the late Senator Edward Kennedy. In these roles she was instrumental in drafting, negotiating, and implementing the landmark Affordable Care Act.
Earlier in her career, Ms. Atkins was a Senior Policy Analyst and Director of the Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the Director of the NAACP Health Division working with both adult and youth chapters across the nation.
She has been a member of several advisory committees, including the Presidential Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS under the Clinton and Bush administrations. She has given frequent presentations and speeches at national and community-level forums.
Ms. Atkins received a BA from Spelman College and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Michigan.