Xavier Becerra, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services who previously served 12 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, will join Sarah L. Szanton, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, for a virtual conversation on Thursday, Dec. 15, as part of the Johns Hopkins Health Policy Forum.
The discussion, which begins at noon, will cover topics including the nursing workforce and nursing leadership, Becerra's work to expand access to health care and advance health equity, and more.
Johns Hopkins faculty, staff, students, alumni, and members of the general public are invited to tune in to the event; advance registration is required.
"Secretary Becerra is a strategic leader who has navigated some of the most daunting public health challenges of our time," Szanton said. "During his time as secretary, HHS has invested in nursing and prioritized the needs of our nation's diverse communities. We look forward to speaking with him and learning more about his plans for the future."
Becerra is the seventh expert to participate in the Health Policy Forum series, which launched in fall 2020 to highlight the university's engagement with key leaders on matters of health policy and health care. Previous events featured:
- Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (October 2020)
- Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (May 2021)
- Robert M. Davis, CEO and president of Merck (October 2021)
- Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (January 2022)
- Atul Gawande, assistant administrator of the Bureau for Global Health at the U.S. Agency for International Development (April 2022)
- Donna Shalala, former HHS secretary and member of Congress (June 2022)
Becerra is the 25th HHS secretary and the first Latino to hold the office. Throughout his career, he has made it a priority to ensure that Americans have access to affordable health care—from his early days as a legal advocate representing individuals with mental health challenges, to his role as attorney general of California.
For more than two decades in Congress, Becerra worked to ensure that every family had the assurance of care that his own family had when he was growing up. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, Becerra introduced legislation—the Medicare Savings Programs Improvement Act of 2007—that expanded cost-sharing subsidies for low-income seniors who receive both Medicare and Medicaid benefits by increasing the amount of resources they could receive. He championed provisions of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 that required physicians who perform imaging to be accredited and trained to ensure patient safety. And he was one of the original cosponsors of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which strengthened Medicare and lowered costs for seniors.
The Health Policy Forum series is jointly hosted by Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health, Carey Business School, and School of Nursing along with Johns Hopkins Medicine.