Dr. Jewel Mullen, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is a physician and epidemiologist whose career has spanned clinical, research, teaching and administrative roles focused on improving the health of all people, especially the underserved. She is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in building effective community-based chronic disease prevention programs, and for her commitment to improving individual and population health by strengthening coordination between community, public health and health care systems.
As the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Mullen oversees the offices within of the Office of Assistant Secretary for Health with the goal of fostering collaboration across its programs to advance public health. She is the lead liaison for the HHS Regions and advises the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health on a variety of priority public health issues, ranging from research integrity to women’s health to health promotion and disease prevention.
Before joining HHS, Dr. Mullen served for five years as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH). Before that, she was the Director of the Bureau of Community Health and Prevention at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Over the years, Dr. Mullen has also been on the medical faculty at New York University, the University of Virginia, Yale and Tufts.
At the Connecticut DPH, Dr. Mullen prioritized prevention, health equity, health care quality and safety, and strengthening local public health departments. Under her leadership, the DPH developed initiatives to reduce racial disparities in the rates of infant mortality and low birth weight. In 2015, the DPH received the March of Dimes Virginia Apgar award for reducing Connecticut’s preterm birth rate by 8 percent. Under her leadership, the DPH also implemented a statewide health improvement plan and responded effectively to a number of large-scale public health emergencies.
In 2014, Dr. Mullen was elected President of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the membership organization representing more than 100,000 public health professionals in the United States, the District of Columbia and eight U.S. territories. During her tenure, she mobilized state health officials and national partners to join her President’s Challenge, Living Longer Better, to promote healthy aging among older adults and their communities.
A Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Dr. Mullen has held several academic and administrative appointments and received numerous awards. She is the former chair of the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection and Control Federal Advisory Committee and served on both the Advisory Committee to the CDC Director and the Public Health Accreditation Board. She was also a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Quality Measures for the Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicators.
Board-certified in internal medicine, Dr. Mullen received her Bachelor’s degree with distinction and her Master of Public Health degree from Yale University, where she also completed a post-doctoral fellowship in psychosocial epidemiology. She graduated from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where she was elected to AOA, the National Medical Honor Society. She completed her residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. A former National Health Services Corps scholar, Dr. Mullen recognizes that efforts to improve the health of individuals and communities must be informed by an understanding of the social context that determines their behaviors and their access to resources.