Donna Shalala

Born:February 14, 1941 (age 79)
Career:U.S. House of Representatives, 2019-present
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 1993-2001
Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1977-1980
Education:B.A., Western College for Women
Ph.D., Syracuse University

Donna Shalala assumed office as U.S. representative for Florida's 27th Congressional District on Jan. 3, 2019, Previously, Shalala served as the United States secretary of health and human services under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001, the longest serving HHS secretary and the first Lebanese-American to serve in a Cabinet position. She currently serves as Trustee Professor of Political Science and Health Policy at the University of Miami.

Shalala was born February 14, 1941, in Cleveland, Ohio. She received a Bachelor of Arts in 1962 from Western College for Women. From 1962 to 1964, she served in the Peace Corps in Iran, among the first volunteers to serve with the Peace Corps. In 1970, she earned a Ph.D. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Shalala was a political science professor at Baruch College from 1970 to 1972, then a professor of politics and education at Teachers College, Columbia University from 1972 to 1979. In 1975, she became the only woman on the Municipal Assistance Corporation, a group tasked with saving New York City from a financial crisis. From 1977 to 1980, she also served as the assistant secretary for policy development and research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Carter Administration. She was president of Hunter College from 1980 to 1988, and served as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1988 to 1993, the first woman to lead a Big Ten Conference school and only the second woman to head a major research university in the United States. From 2001 to 2015, she was president of the University of Miami. From 2015 to 2017, she served as president of the Clinton Foundation.

In 2008, Shalala was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. In 2010 she received the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York, in 2011.

For information on Shalala's policy subject areas, committee appointments and sponsored/co-sponsored legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, please visit her profile on


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