Monday, November 21, 2005

The New Sheriff In Town

The new Director of the Office of Women's Health has her work cut out for her, but her credentials are essentially perfect. From personal experience, HHS is a difficult agency. While Clinton and Bush both managed to heavily consolidate what were a bunch of disparate programs and also to resolve a lot of the turf wars, it's still a formidable alphabet soup. Many agencies have what sound like simple missions, but not much in the way of authority or budget to carry them out. Uhl, the new Director, has a lot of experience in the Public Health Service, HHS' general service-delivery arm, and has a lot of experience with the military and its health system and needs, which are often extremely complex. However, also from personal experience she's going to have a lot of problems to deal with. The resignation of their last director in protest over the FDA's ridiculous Plan B fiasco and a history of budget cuts has left the division demoralized and skeletal. It would take a real master of federal bureaucracy to accomplish anything.