Dr. Howard Koh is stepping down as assistant secretary for health at HHS after five years in the post. Koh's primary focus was disease prevention, including oversight of the Office of the Surgeon General.
Koh is returning to the faculty of the Harvard School of Public Health
, where he taught before joining the Obama administration. He will depart at the end of July, according to HHS. Dr. Wanda Jones, who serves as principle deputy assistant secretary for health, will take over his duties until a replacement is named.
“Howard's broad range of accomplishments at HHS reflects his deep passion for promoting public health in so many arenas,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell wrote in an internal message announcing his resignation. “He was the primary architect of landmark HHS strategic plans on tobacco control, health disparities and chronic viral hepatitis that will leave a legacy for many years.”
Koh is the latest significant departure from HHS. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
stepped down last month after Burwell was confirmed to take her place in the post. In addition, CMS Principal Deputy Administrator Jonathan Blum and Michael Hash, director of HHS' Office of Health Reform, both departed
in recent weeks.
Koh was named one of Modern Healthcare's Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare
in 2012.Follow Paul Demko on Twitter: @MHpdemko