Public health policy leader Jim O'Hara will join The Pew Charitable Trusts as director of policy initiatives and the Health and Human Services (HHS) program effective January 2, 2006, the organization announced today. Mr. O'Hara will lead the Trusts' national HHS policy program and its ongoing commitment to serve vulnerable populations in the five-county Philadelphia region. He succeeds Maureen K. Byrnes, who has joined Human Rights First as executive director.
Mr. O'Hara has more than 30 years of public health policy and communications experience in the public, nonprofit and private sectors. He founded and currently serves as executive director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY), located at Georgetown University. CAMY monitors the marketing practices of the alcohol industry to focus attention and action on industry practices that jeopardize the health and safety of America's youth and is funded principally by the Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
“Jim O'Hara brings to the Trusts exceptional, proven leadership in public health policy, communications and management and is the perfect professional to build on the strong foundation of a highly-regarded and effective program area at the Trusts,” said Rebecca W. Rimel, president and chief executive officer of The Pew Charitable Trusts.
The Trusts is a nonprofit organization serving the public interest by providing information, advancing policy solutions and supporting civic life. It will invest $204 million in fiscal year 2006 to provide organizations and citizens with fact-based research and practical solutions for challenging issues.
The Trusts' HHS program is recognized nationally and locally for its successes and innovations. With a budget of more than $35 million in FY 2006, its programming includes a major national initiative to improve the United States foster care system; a portfolio of programs to increase family financial security; and efforts to define and address challenging science and technology issues. It also includes the Pew Fund for Health and Human Services, a multi-million dollar program serving vulnerable populations in the five-county region of Philadelphia, and a national biomedical research effort that has invested more than $110 million since 1985.
“At a time of enormous challenge for all in the health and human services community, the Trusts' vision and sense of mission for solving problems in common sense ways that bridge gaps are critically needed and I am excited to be part of that effort,” said Mr. O'Hara. “The Health and Human Services team understands how our work can make real differences in improving the health and lives of families and communities. I am honored to join them as we seek new opportunities.”
From 2000 to 2001, Mr. O'Hara served as the executive director of Health-Track, an $11 million public education initiative funded by the Trusts and others to help improve U.S. public health tracking and monitoring of chronic diseases and environmental exposures. Previously, he was deputy assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from June 1997 to July 1999, where he was responsible for the formulation of federal public health policy in a number of areas, such as tobacco control and food safety, and was a senior advisor to the assistant secretary for health/Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher and the secretary Dr. Donna E. Shalala. Before that, Mr. O'Hara served as associate commissioner for public affairs at the federal Food and Drug Administration.
A veteran reporter with more than 17 years of experience, Mr. O'Hara was a Knight Fellow at Stanford University. He received his master's degree from the University of Chicago and a bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame.