Former HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to Join Aspen Health Strategy Group

July 24, 2017

Former Secretary joins group of leaders in healthcare and medicine

Contact: Doug Farrar
The Aspen Institute | 202 736-3848

Washington, DC, July 24, 2017 – The Aspen Health Strategy Group (AHSG), an initiative of the Aspen Institute’s Health, Medicine and Society program, announced today that Former US Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell will join the group in an ex-officio capacity. Led by AHSG co-chairs and former US Secretaries of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Tommy G. Thompson, the group of 24 senior leaders provides recommendations on important and complex health issues to promote improvements in policy and practice.

Burwell joins five other former US Secretaries of Health and Human Services as ex officio members of AHSG: Michael O. Leavitt, Founder and Chairman, Leavitt Partners; 20th U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (2005-2009); Donna Shalala, Trustee Professor of Political Science and Health Policy, University of Miami; 18th U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (1993-2001); Louis Sullivan, President Emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine; Chairman, Sullivan Alliance; Chairman, National Health Museum; 17th U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (1989-1993); Margaret M. Heckler, 15th U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (1983-1985); David Mathews, President and CEO, Kettering Foundation; 11th U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (1975-1977).

“We are honored to have Secretary Burwell join us and lend her expertise and experience to our efforts at tackling complex and complicated health issues,” said co-chair Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. “Secretary Burwell has shown her commitment to advancing our nation’s health and we look forward to working with her as we continue to promote meaningful changes in policy and practice,” said co-chair Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Each year, the AHSG tackles one issue through a comprehensive, in-depth study. The group’s topic for 2016 was improving care at the end-of-life which culminated in a report that includes both background papers by experts in the field and a set of five big ideas to transform care for people with serious illness at the end of their lives. This year the group is tackling the pressing crisis of opioid addiction.

In addition to the co-chairs, members of the Aspen Health Strategy Group include Marcia Angell, former Editor-in-Chief, New England Journal of MedicineRich Baron, President and CEO, American Board of Internal Medicine; Mark Bertolini, Chairman and CEO, Aetna; Richard Besser, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Dena Bravata, CMO & Co-founder, Lyra Health; Toby Cosgrove, President and CEO, Cleveland Clinic; Susan DeVore, President and CEO, Premier Inc.; Deborah DiSanzo, General Manager, IBM Health; Victor Dzau, President, National Academy of Medicine (formerly, the Institute of Medicine); Judy Faulkner, Founder and CEO, EPIC; Harvey Fineberg, President, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; Kenneth Frazier, Chairman and CEO, Merck; Helene Gayle, CEO, McKinsey Social Initiative; Paul Ginsburg, Professor of Public Policy and Director of Public Policy, Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California and Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair in Health Policy Studies and Director, Center for Health Policy at the Brookings Institution; Sister Carol Keehan, President and CEO, Catholic Health Association; David Lansky, President and CEO, Pacific Business Group on Health; Larry Merlo, President, CVS Health; Siddhartha Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Columbia University and Pulitzer Prize Winner (The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer); Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International, Inc.; Marta Tellado, President and CEO, Consumer Reports; Andy Stern, President Emeritus, SEIU; Jeff Thompson, Former CEO, Gundersen Health System; Bernard Tyson, Chairman and CEO, Kaiser Permanente; and Antonia Villarruel, Dean, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

The Health, Medicine and Society (HMS) Program at the Aspen Institute, established in 2005, is the principal domestic health initiative at the Aspen Institute. Rigorously nonpartisan, HMS creates opportunities for government, academic, advocacy, and industry leaders to explore critical issues in health, health care, medical science, and health policy, and to consider their impact on individuals, families, and communities across the United States. For more information, visit  

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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