The mission of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services.
HHS is the U.S. Government’s principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, from conception. HHS is responsible for almost a quarter of all Federal outlays and administers more grant dollars than all other Federal agencies combined.
Eleven operating divisions, including eight agencies in the U.S. Public Health Service and three human services agencies, administer HHS’s programs. While HHS is a domestic agency working to protect and promote the health and well-being of the American people, the interconnectedness of our world requires that HHS engage globally to fulfill its mission. In addition, staff divisions provide leadership, direction, and policy guidance to the Department.
Improving health and human services outcomes cannot be achieved by the Department on its own; collaborations are critical to achieve our goals and objectives.
HHS collaborates closely with other Federal departments and agencies on cross-cutting topics. For example, through the President’s Management Council, the Department engages with other Federal departments to identify and adopt best practices on performance and management initiatives. Another example, focused on mission-critical efforts, is the Federal Interagency Workgroup that led the Healthy People 2020 development effort, bringing together Federal staff from the Department with partners in the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Education.
Federal Advisory Committees enable the Department to collaborate with other Federal departments and agencies, as well as members of the public, on high-priority issues. For example, the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee, established by the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016 (Pub. L. 114–255), convenes senior leaders from 10 Federal agencies including HHS; the Departments of Justice, Labor, Veterans Affairs, Defense, Housing and Urban Development, and Education; and the Social Security Administration, along with 14 non-Federal public members, to improve Federal coordination of efforts to address the needs of adults with serious mental illness and youth with serious emotional disturbance.
Importantly, the Federal Government has a unique legal and political government-to-government relationship with Tribal governments and a special obligation to provide services for American Indians and Alaska Natives based on these individuals’ relationship to Tribal governments. Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, requires consultation with Indian Tribal governments when considering policies that affect Tribal communities. The Department’s Tribal Consultation Policy, first developed with Tribal participation in 2004, was updated in 2010. HHS works with Tribal governments, Indian organizations, and other Tribal organizations to facilitate greater consultation and coordination between States and Tribes on health and human services issues.
HHS works closely with State, local, and U.S. territorial governments, providing funding for program operations and technical assistance. HHS also fosters critical global relationships, coordinates international engagement across HHS and the U.S. Government, and provides leadership and expertise in global health diplomacy and policy to contribute to a safer, healthier world.
In addition, HHS has strong partnerships with the private sector, academia, research institutions, and nongovernmental organizations, including religious and faith-based organizations. The Department partners with the private sector, such as regulated industries, academic institutions, trade organizations, and advocacy groups. The Department leverages resources from these organizations to enable HHS to accomplish its mission through strategies that minimize the burden on, and increase the benefits to, the American public. This effort occurs through Tribes and faith-based and community initiatives as well as grantees in the private sector, such as academic and research institutions, and community-based nonprofit organizations, which provide many services at the local level.
The narrative and strategies listed under the Strategic Goals and Objectives in this document provide additional descriptions of how the Department collaborates with governmental and nongovernmental groups.