DEFINITION of 'U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)'

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is a Cabinet-level government department that provides health and human services, and promotes research in social services, medicine and public health. It achieves this through 11 agencies that manage more than 100 programs. The agencies include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

 

BREAKING DOWN 'U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)'

HHS was originally  founded as a Cabinet-level department in 1953 as the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW). In 1979, the Department of Education Organization Law created a separate Department of Education. The remaining agencies were reorganized as the Department of Health and Human Services on May 4, 1980.

HHS implements parts of the Affordable Care Act, enforces the HIPAA Privacy Rule, ensures that human-subject research conducted by department-funded institutions obeys regulations, and operates the Head Start program for children. It is also the largest grant-making agency in the country. According to the 2017 budget some of the key goals for the department including addressing opioid abuse, increasing access to mental and behavioral health programs, and supporting the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. 

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