The year 2018 marked tremendous accomplishments by the men and women of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It was the privilege of a lifetime to see all of the progress made by the dedicated team since I had the honor of arriving at the department—and, as of January 25, it’s been just one year!
The HHS team devoted its talents to advancing the department’s mission of improving the health and well-being of the American people, by implementing dozens of innovative ideas, policy changes, and new research projects. The department is united by a strategic vision: a country where our HHS programs, and America’s healthcare, human services, public health, and biomedical science institutions, work better for the people we serve.
This work is organized around the five goals laid out in our strategic plan, which was updated in Fiscal Year 2018:
- Reform, strengthen, and modernize the nation’s healthcare system.
- Protect the health of Americans where they live, learn, work, and play.
- Strengthen the economic and social well-being of Americans across the lifespan.
- Foster sound, sustained advances in the sciences.
- Promote effective and efficient management and stewardship.
Delivering on these goals requires not just innovating and executing among our team at HHS and within our own walls. Even as a more than $1 trillion department, with more than 80,000 employees, we would do well to recognize how many partners are necessary to create sustained and significant improvements for the people we serve.
We have lofty goals, including four priorities I have laid out: lowering the price of prescription drugs, defeating the opioid epidemic, reforming how Americans finance their healthcare, and transforming our healthcare system into one that pays for value. But we also have to continue developing America’s biomedical research enterprise, improve the quality of care offered in tribal health facilities, promote work and independence in our human services programs, fight key public health battles such as the rising wave of youth e-cigarette use, and so much more.
Winning these battles will require not just innovative use of the powers and resources of government, but also enlisting all other stakeholders, whose buy-in will be necessary to create sustained and significant improvements for the people we serve.
As we plan for 2019, I have great confidence that the HHS team will take this message to heart and continue delivering historic results for the American people.
Alex M. Azar II
Secretary of Health and Human Services