The Office of Public Health and Science (OPHS) provides advice, policy and program coordination, and leadership in the implementation, management, and development of activities related to public health and science, as directed by the Secretary. OPHS helps HHS conduct broad-based public health assessments to better address and solve public health problems. It assists other parts of HHS in anticipating future public health issues and helps ensure that HHS designs and implements appropriate approaches, interventions, and evaluations that will maintain, sustain, and improve the health of the Nation. OPHS provides leadership and policy recommendations on population-based public health and science and, at the Secretary’s direction, leads or coordinates initiatives that cut across agencies and operating divisions. In addition, OPHS communicates and interacts, on behalf of the Secretary, with national and international professional and constituency organizations on matters of public health and science. Finally, OPHS’s unique role allows it to use its resources to link important HHS programs or fill gaps in areas needing better policy formulation and coordination.
OPHS’ evaluation strategy focuses on public health and science issues that cut across multiple interests of the operating divisions and requires a coordinated approach to achieve the most effective results. OPHS evaluations support the Assistant Secretary for Health as the Secretary’s senior advisor for public health and science. OPHS also conducts evaluations specific to the needs of the programs operated from the offices located within OPHS, such as emergency preparedness, women’s health, minority health, disease prevention and health promotion, and research integrity. The ten HHS Regional Health Administrators have access to some evaluation funds. In keeping with its role within the Department, OPHS does not undertake evaluations more appropriately undertaken by operating divisions of HHS or by the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE).