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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Sally Phillips, R.N., Ph.D.

National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters Board Member

Dr. Phillips has been serving as Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Health Affairs (OHA) since May, 2013.   Dr. Phillips joined DHS in August 2010, and served as the Deputy Director of the Health Threats Resilience Division until March 2012, when she was promoted to the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of the Health Threats Resilience Division.  Dr. Phillips provides leadership and direction to five major programmatic areas within OHA: biological and chemical defense; food, agriculture and veterinary defense; planning and exercise support; health incidence surveillance; and state and local initiatives. Under her leadership, the Department strengthened the biodefense enterprise through guidance for medical countermeasures and management of the BioWatch Program and National Biosurveillance Integration Center.

Furthermore during this time, OHA saw increased funding and support of
Photograph of Sally Phillips, R.N., Ph.D. Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health Affairs Department of Homeland Security
Congress for chemical defense programs; revised plans for disaster response support to FEMA; and development of guidance for radiation and nuclear disasters.


Dr. Phillips comes to OHA from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) where she served as Director of the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Research Program. In July 2009, Dr. Phillips joined the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) as a Senior Advisor. There she was involved in policy issues, primarily supporting the H1N1 Task Force by addressing medical surge capacity and policies related to health care systems’ preparedness and response to H1N1.

Dr. Phillips is a leader in health system surge capacity and emergency preparedness. In her role at AHRQ, she served on numerous agency and department workgroups concerned with public health and medical response, as well as homeland security preparedness and response initiatives. She is an accomplished author, consultant and speaker on public health, medical preparedness and response research initiatives.  She also has expertise in health professional education and professional practice policy.

Prior to joining AHRQ, Dr. Phillips was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow and Health Policy Analyst for Senator Tom Harkin for two years. She has also had a distinguished academic career in the Schools of Nursing and Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Dr. Phillips received a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University, a master’s degree from the University of Colorado, and a doctorate from Case Western Reserve University. Her primary area of clinical practice is the care of women, infants and children, with a specialty in the care of high-risk neonates.

National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters (NACCD)

  • This page last reviewed: September 23, 2014