Assistant Secretary for Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Dr. Slater was confirmed as the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Jan. 25, 2002, and officially sworn in on February 8. She serves as the Secretary’s primary advisor on matters involving the nation’s public health and oversees HHS’ U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) for the Secretary. The PHS is comprised of all agency divisions of HHS and the Commissioned Corps, a uniformed service of more than 6,000 health professionals who serve at HHS and other federal agencies.
Prior to joining HHS, Dr. Slater was senior vice president of Merck Research Laboratories external policy and vice president of corporate public affairs. The first woman to attain this rank, Dr. Slater supervised worldwide regulatory activities for all Merck medicines and vaccines, which included responsibility for the Food and Drug Administration. During her tenure, Dr. Slater was responsible for the rapid approval of Crixivan to treat HIV infection, and spearheaded approvals of major medicines to treat hypertension, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, asthma, arthritis, prostate disease, and vaccines for chicken pox and h. influenza.
Before her role as senior vice president, Dr. Slater was senior director of Biochemical Endocrinology from 1983 to 1988. Her research focused on receptor signal transduction, specifically involving the beta-adrenergic and insulin receptors.
In 1976, Dr. Slater became the first woman in the history of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to be appointed chief resident in medicine. From 1977 to 1982, she served as chief of the Hypertension Unit and was assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. She directed laboratory researched funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association, published on biochemical mechanisms involved in blood pressure control and diseases of the aorta, was active in patient and taught extensively.
Dr. Slater has participated on several panels and was chairman of the International Conference on Harmonization Committee on the Structure and Content of Clinical Studies Reports and chairman of the Regulations Advisory Board for the Centre for Medicine Research. Additionally, she was named to the Keystone National Policy Dialogue on HIV, participated in the founding of the Forum for HIV Research, and was nominated to the NIH Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council. Dr. Slater is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Vassar College and an Alpha Omega Alpha graduate of Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. She completed internship and residencies at MGH and is board certified in both internal medicine and cardiology.
An accomplished flutist, Dr. Slater has studied with many of America’s foremost flutists and appeared as a flute soloist with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. She is the mother of two teenage sons.