Dr. Howard K. Koh is the Harvey V. Fineberg Professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Kennedy School. He previously served as the 14th Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2009-2014) after being nominated by President Barack Obama. During that time, he oversaw 12 core public health offices, including the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, 10 Regional Health Offices across the nation, and 10 Presidential and Secretarial advisory committees.
From 1997-2003, Dr. Koh was Commissioner of Public Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts after being appointed by Governor William Weld. As Commissioner, he led the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, which included a wide range of health services, four hospitals, and more than 3,000 health professionals. He emphasized the power of prevention and strengthened the state’s commitment to eliminating health disparities, while advancing progress in areas such as tobacco control, bioterrorism response after 9/11 and anthrax, health issues of the homeless, newborn screening, organ donation, suicide prevention and international public health partnerships.
A graduate of Yale College and the Yale University School of Medicine, he trained at Boston City Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, earned board certifications in four medical fields, has been Principal Investigator of research grants totaling $25M, published more than 300 articles in the medical and public health literature and has received over 70 awards, including six honorary doctorate degrees.
He is on the Board of Directors of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the Network for Public Health Law, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and New England Donor Services. Dr. Koh and his wife Dr. Claudia Arrigg have three adult children and two granddaughters.