A Medical Device Daily

Mike Leavitt, new secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (Washington) has named six people to his senior staff, including a chief of staff, deputy chief of staff and four counselors. The department said in a statement that the appointments are the first in a series that will comprise Leavitt's "senior team" at the department.

"I've selected a very seasoned and competent team of professionals to help guide the work of the department," Leavitt said. "Each offers valuable experience, subject-matter expertise and a proven track record of performance that will help me fulfill the president's aspirations for the department."

Named chief of staff was Rich McKeown, to oversee all department functions. He previously served as chief of staff to Leavitt at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and, before that, was with Leavitt's administration while he was governor of Utah. He has also served as a commissioner of the Utah State Tax Commission and practiced law in Salt Lake City.

Kerry Weems was named deputy chief of staff to assist the chief of staff with management of day-to-day operations, as well as serving as a policy advisor. Weems, a 21-year veteran of the department, most recently served as acting assistant secretary for Budget, Technology and Finance. He began his career as a budget and program analyst for the Social Security Administration (then part of HHS) and has served in various capacities since then.

Jennifer Young will serve as acting senior counselor for health policy, a new role within the department. She will function as senior policy advisor to the secretary for the health portfolio. Young will advise the secretary on Medicaid, Medicare, public health and other healthcare matters, as well as legislative strategy. Previously, Young served as the assistant secretary for legislation, the principal legislative liaison for the Bush administration on health and human service legislation. She will continue in this role until a replacement is named. Young plays what the HHS statement termed "a lead role" in the implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act at HHS.

William Raub was named acting counselor for science policy, overseeing the FDA, the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta). Raub also will serve as a key advisor to the secretary on counterterrorism. His experience includes service as principal deputy assistant secretary for public health emergency preparedness and, earlier, as acting assistant secretary for planning and evaluation.

Richard Campanelli was named acting counselor for human service policy, advising the secretary on issues relating to children and families, seniors, people with disabilities, life issues, civil rights, privacy, faith and community-based activities and other human service matters. Campanelli also will continue in his capacity as director of the Office for Civil Rights.

Natalie Gochnour was named counselor to the secretary, advising on communication and policy matters. Most recently, Gochnour served as associate administrator for public affairs at the EPA.