US President Barack Obama has nominated Greek American Sylvia Mathews Burwell as the new Secretary of HHS. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the current director of the Office of Management and Budget would follow Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services.
“She’s a proven manager who’s demonstrated her ability to field great teams, forge strong relationships, and deliver excellent results at the highest levels,” said President Obama. “And she’s done it both in the public and private sectors.”
Sylvia Mathews Burwell was born and raised in Hinton, West Virginia. She is the daughter of Cleo (née Maroudas) Mathews, a former Hinton mayor, and Dr. William Peter Mathews, a retired optometrist. Her maternal grandparents, Vasiliki (Mpakares) and Dennis N. Maroudas, were Greek immigrants, as were her paternal grandparents.
She began her career while still in college, serving as an intern for West Virginia Congressman Nick Rahall, as governor’s aide to Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, and working on the Dukakis/Bentsen and the Clinton/Gore campaigns. She also served as Deputy Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 1998, and was Chief of Staff to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin from 1995 to 1997. She also ran the Bill & Melinda Gates and Walmart Foundations.
The Greek-American’s new challenges if she is confirmed will range from covering more families with economic security that health insurance provides, to protecting the country from outbreak or bioterror attacks and keep America at the forefront of job-creating medical research.