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Donna Shalala

President, University of Miami and Former Secretary, Health and Human Services

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Respected for her leadership ability in the public and private sectors, Donna Shalala is a leading voice on health care reform and education issues.

The longest-serving secretary of health and human services, Donna Shalala reinvented the nation's approach to caregiving and laid the groundwork for the new millennium. Shalala dealt head-on with the nation’s most controversial issues—health care financing, head-start programs, AIDS, medical privacy, biomedical research and health-care oriented welfare reform while also funding shelters for battered women and instituting anti-discrimination measures. Her relentless championing of “the little guy” endears her to audiences everywhere and her tireless worked earned her the Medal of Freedom in 2008─America’s highest civil award. As president of the University of Miami, Shalala has earned a reputation as a coalition-builder, able to form unprecedented partnerships with businesses and the media in her crusade for education and reform. She also serves as a distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institution which hailed her for her expertise, experience and boundless energy to assist the think tank efforts to improve public policy. Her leadership skills resulted in U.S. News and World Report naming her one of 25 of “America’s Best Leaders.” Warm and personable, Shalala brings humor and charm to audiences as she shares the lessons learned over a lifetime spent in service to the American people.

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