U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary of Administration Cheryl Campbell visits FIU
By Kyomi Cabral
FIU hosted U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary of Administration Cheryl Campbell on Dec. 1. Campbell is a top HHS official whose portfolio includes broad oversight in provisioning and managing the department’s human resources. She is passionate about reaching university students interested in a career of service, especially those from minority-serving institutions, as she noted during her visit.
"It's not just enough to be invited to the party but to actually have a place at the table," she said. "This is the level of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility HHS strives for."
During her visit, Campbell met with university leadership, researchers and students; toured research labs in the Academic Health Center; and attended a leadership roundtable on expanding FIU-HHS partnerships and a fireside chat with FIU Trustee and alumna Chanel T. Rowe JD’14 focused on discussing student opportunities at HHS.
Rowe, who helped coordinate the visit, said: "Working for the federal government is a phenomenal opportunity that helped shape my own career. In organizing this visit, part of the goal was to expose HHS to the rich diversity of talent and skills that our students can offer their workforce and expose students to the various career opportunities at HHS, which goes far beyond medicine to include multiple disciplines.”
The Department of HHS and its agencies, such as the National Institute of Health (NIH) and Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), are critical to FIU’s leadership in population health, in particular in the areas of adolescent mental health, brain health and the environment, behavioral health and testing interventions and translational research.
Tomás R. Guilarte, dean of the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, and a team of Stempel College researchers provided a briefing on their research and showed Campbell around their labs. She learned about the ways that FIU researchers are finding links between environmental factors and the growing epidemic of neurodegenerative diseases through various studies.
The Brain, Behavior, and the Environment program has recently received $2 million toward its work from HRSA, secured by FIU champion Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. This funding will help Stempel continue its transformative work in public health.
The HHS team followed the informative tour with a meeting with FIU leadership, including President Kenneth A. Jessell, where they touched on key initiatives for FIU in the areas of public health and environmental-based research. The conversation revolved around opportunities for students with the assistant administrator noting, “We have to figure out where we can make the most impact” for the students at FIU. This mission of diversifying the federal workforce is precisely the type of work FIU in Washington, D.C., is helping fulfill.
In front of a full house in the Graham Center, Campbell discussed with Rowe how HHS is working to cultivate a workforce that draws from the full diversity of the nation and encouraged students to pursue careers in the federal government. She drew on her experiences working in the private sector and transitioning over to her current public service position, providing students with key insight for their future careers. Students asked many questions pertaining to public health, mental health, and the many opportunities that exist within the federal government.