Former HHS Secretary Alex Azar Joins Aspen Health Strategy Group

June 7, 2021

Azar joins six other former US Secretaries of Health and Human Services as ex officio members of AHSG 

Contact: Jon Purves
Senior Media Relations Manager
The Aspen Institute

Washington, DC, June 7, 2021 – The Aspen Health Strategy Group (AHSG), an initiative of the Aspen Institute Health, Medicine & Society program, announced today that former US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar has joined the group in an ex-officio capacity. Led by AHSG co-chairs, former HHS secretary and former governor, Kathleen Sebelius and former US Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, the group of 20 senior leaders provides recommendations on important and complex health issues to promote improvements in policy and practice. Members include CEOs and other high-level executives at major corporations, health systems, professional associations, and foundations, as well as innovative thinkers in academic settings.

Azar joins six other former US Secretaries of Health and Human Services as ex officio members of AHSG, which is the only organization that includes this prestigious group:

  • Sylvia Mathews Burwell, President, American University; 22nd HHS Secretary (2014-2017)
  • Michael O. Leavitt, Founder and Chairman, Leavitt Partners; 20th HHS Secretary (2005-2009)
  • Tommy Thompson, President (interim), University of Wisconsin System; 19th HHS Secretary (2001-2005); AHSG co-chair (2015-2021)
  • Donna Shalala, University of Miami Board of Trustees Presidential Chair and professor emerita, University of Miami Herbert Business School; 18th HHS Secretary (1993-2001)
  • Louis Sullivan, Chair, Sullivan Alliance to Transform America’s Health Professions, Association of Academic Health Centers; 17th HHS Secretary (1989-1993)
  • David Mathews, President and CEO, Kettering Foundation; 11th US Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (1975-1977)

Each year, the Aspen Health Strategy Group tackles one issue through a comprehensive, in-depth study and issues a final report that includes the Group’s recommendations designed to drive meaningful change, along with a series of specific action steps for implementing each one of them. The annual report also includes background papers prepared by experts in the field.  To date, AHSG has published the following reports:

For 2021, AHSG has chosen incarceration and health for the focus of its work. Its report on this topic is expected to be released in the fall.

About the Aspen Institute and its Health, Medicine & Society Program

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.

Established in 2005, the Aspen Institute Health, Medicine & Society Program brings together influential groups of thought leaders, decision-makers and the informed public to consider health challenges facing the U.S. in the 21st century and to identify practical solutions for addressing them. For more information, visit

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