Sharon Ricks was appointed Regional Health Administrator for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Region IV, in September 2016. She is the senior federal public health official for HHS’ largest geographic region with primary responsibility for mobilizing leadership in science and prevention for a healthier Nation. Her jurisdiction comprises the eight southeastern states where 63 million Americans live, work, play, and pray. This includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and six tribal nations.
Mrs. Ricks began her career in 1986 at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) where she supported efforts to provide developing countries with food and nutrition, population planning assistance, health services, and education. She was a regular contributor to USAID’s Frontlines magazine and a columnist for the State Department's State magazine. She also compiled the Agency’s weekly reports to the Secretary of the Cabinet at the White House.
In 1995, she joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where she supported public affairs activities at three institutes including the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. At NIH, she was managing editor of the HealthBeat radio network and published more than 100 articles, educational materials, and news releases translating complex research advances into plain language. She was awarded the NIH Plain Language Award in 2003.
In 2001, she joined the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH), Office on Women’s Health, where she developed and implemented a health improvement campaign and program used by community organizations to improve women’s health across the Nation. She broadly expanded the promotion of, and conducted the first evaluation for, National Women’s Health Week and implemented the first National Women’s Check-up Day. In 2004, she became the Regional Women’s Health Liaison with lead responsibility for facilitating efforts of state and regional coordinators to deliver women's health programming at the local level. In 2007, she became the Deputy Regional Health Administrator for OASH Region IV, where she collaborated with state and local partners to reduce infant mortality, human trafficking, opioid overdoses and chronic diseases and to promote community-based participatory research, walkable communities, environmental justice, and health equity.
Mrs. Ricks was a finalist for the 2015 Atlanta Federal Executive Board’s Outstanding Interagency Partnership Award, a recipient of the 2013 Regional Director’s Award for Innovation and the 2013 OASH Region IV Outstanding Leadership Award. In 2015, she graduated from Morehouse School of Medicine’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Community Health Leadership Program. She received her BS in Journalism from the University of Maryland University College in 1990 and her MA in Journalism from Regent University in 2004.