general candidates for Presidential appointment that gives high priority to qualifications and leadership, and Congress is strongly urged to consider a longer term for this office.

  1. The secretary should work with the President and Congress to establish a selection process for the department’s senior-level officials that protects the scientific and administrative integrity of major departmental units, promotes progress toward departmental goals, and is based primarily on the candidates’ qualifications and experience. Congress again is strongly urged to consider longer terms for some of these officials—especially the directors of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—which would provide critical continuity in the nation’s public health and scientific endeavors.

  2. The President should make timely appointments and Congress should expedite the confirmation process for key HHS officials, including the secretary, deputy secretary, surgeon general, and the heads of FDA and NIH. Secretarial appointments, such as the director of CDC, also should be expedited.

  3. The secretary should ensure that all department health programs, including the reimbursement programs, reinforce public health priorities and strategies in order to provide a consistent framework for protecting the public from health risks, promoting health, preventing disease and disability, and providing health services for vulnerable populations in the most efficient, cost-effective ways.

  4. To maximize value in the health care system, the secretary must strengthen the scientific base and capabilities of the department and ensure that agencies’ research findings are shared department-wide and that current best evidence is used

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