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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Dr. Sally Phillips was selected to serve as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Strategy, Policy, Planning, and Requirements in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in October 2015. In this position, Dr. Phillips is responsible for leading preparedness and response policy development and analysis; strategic planning and evaluation; and ensuring the coordination and collaboration of domestic and international partners in order to reduce the adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters. In August 2010, Dr. Phillips joined the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Health Affairs (OHA) as the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director for the Health Threats and Resilience Division. Later in her tenure, Dr. Phillips served as the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary within DHS OHA.

In the fall of 2001, Dr. Phillips joined the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, (AHRQ) in Rockville MD as a Senior Nurse Scholar, where she managed a portfolio
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ranging from bioterrorism preparedness to multidisciplinary safety educaiton and related healthcare workforce initiatives. Dr. Phillips was appointed Director of the Bioterrorism Preparedness Research Program (later the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Research Program) in 2002 and served in that capacity until July of 2010. In July 2009, at the request of the ASPR, Dr. Phillips was detailed to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) as a Senior Advisor. In this capacity Dr. Phillips was an active member of the H1N1 Task Force where she demonstrated leadership in addressing medical surge capacity and other policy issues related to the healthcare systems preparedness and response to H1N1.

Prior to joining the staff at 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 Science 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.

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  • This page last reviewed: September 13, 2019