Safeguarding Public Health
HHS’s core mission is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans. Pandemic response and recovery efforts have exacerbated the Department’s challenge to safeguard public health. With more than 730,000 deaths attributable to COVID-19 and more than 45 million cases of the disease in the United States as of October 28, 2021, HHS must act vigilantly to mitigate the loss of life and negative short- and long-term health consequences associated with COVID-19 while effectively operating a range of programs and services that are essential to protecting individuals and communities. This work includes effectively preparing for future emergencies while advancing response capabilities, ensuring that products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are safe and effective, and combating the opioid epidemic while helping ensure access to treatment. To operate effective public health programs, the Department must ensure that its OpDivs and StaffDivs coordinate efforts internally as well as with partners at all levels of government and other stakeholders.