Andrea Palm, MSW ’96, Nominated to be Deputy Secretary of HHS

Alumni; Policy; Public Health; Social Work

President Joe Biden has nominated Brown School graduate Andrea Palm to be deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Upon confirmation by the Senate, she will assume a key role in the department after several years in top public health positions, most recently heading the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

“Andrea Palm is a public servant through and through,” Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers told Wisconsin Public Radio. “She’s been a critical part of our administration and a consummate professional who has done an extraordinary job helping lead our state during an unprecedented public health crisis.”

The Washington Post said HHS will be one of the most highly visible Cabinet agencies as it rolls out the Biden administration strategy to defeat the pandemic. It noted that deputies at large federal departments like HHS often have key responsibility for managing day-to-day operations, functioning as the department’s leader while the secretary travels or speaks to various constituencies on behalf of the department. Biden has nominated Xavier Becerra, California’s attorney general, to be the Secretary of HHS.

Palm was acting assistant secretary for legislation, chief of staff and senior counselor to the HHS secretary during the administration of President Barack Obama. She was also a senior advisor at the White House Domestic Policy Council during the implementation and rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Before joining the Obama administration, she was the senior health policy advisor to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, working on healthcare and public health issues.

In 2016, the Brown School presented Palm with a Distinguished Alumni Award, citing her “20 years of experience working on critical health care, public health, and human services.” 

“Of all [the jobs] that I’ve had, it’s the most fulfilling,” Palm said of her work in HHS.

Palm received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1990 and earned her Master of Social Work degree from the Brown School in 1996.