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Deputy Health Secretary Andrea Palm recipient of Knee/Wittman Outstanding Achievement Award

Andrea Palm

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) is pleased to name U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Secretary and social worker Andrea Palm as the recipient of the Knee/Wittman Outstanding Achievement Award for her efforts in helping create and guide policies to make better and more equitable health care available to all Americans.

The Knee/Wittman Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes an individual or group that has had a significant impact on national health and/or mental health public policy, professional standards, or exemplary program models. This contribution may be in the development, interpretation, implementation, institutionalization, or expansion of health or mental health policy or legislation.  The Knee/Wittman Award Program was established in 1990 to recognize those who represent the values, ethics, and approaches exemplified by two dedicated social work pioneers, Ruth Knee (1920-2008) and Milton Wittman (1915-1994).

“Deputy Secretary Palm embodies the spirit for which this award was created, said Robert Arnold, NASW Foundation Director.  To have a social worker nominated by President Biden and former-President Obama to serve in their administrations speaks directly to her ability to advance social policy that greatly improves the lives of individuals and families across the country.  We are proud to have a social work at this level of the federal government working every day on policies that reflect social work values.”

A graduate of The Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, Palm, MSW, has made health equity the bedrock of her career in public health. She has spent many years in key public health positions. 

Last year, she was confirmed by the Senate to serve as President Biden’s second-in-command at HHS. Palm previously served as acting assistant secretary for legislation, chief of staff, and senior counselor to the HHS secretary during the Obama Administration. She was also a senior advisor at the White House Domestic Policy Council during the implementation and rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

Palm also was a member of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ cabinet and is widely credited with improving the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine when she headed that state’s Medicaid program. It was in this role that she was able to increase vaccination rates statewide and Wisconsin has one of the highest vaccination rates in the nation.

Palm also worked as a senior health policy advisor to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, where she worked on public health issues and health care.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.

The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) is a charitable organization created to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through the advancement of social work practice.