Information and opinions presented here do not always represent the views of the American Heart Association.

Burwell begins role at Department of Health and Human Services

Published: 3:01 pm CDT, June 10, 2014

Sylvia Mathews Burwell has assumed her duties as the new secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Burwell, the White House budget director for the past year, was selected for the job after Kathleen Sebelius announced her resignation in April.

Aside from heading up the Office of Management and Budget, Burwell also held positions as president of the Global Development Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and president of the Walmart Foundation.

“The American Heart Association congratulates Secretary Burwell and looks forward to working closely with her in the fight against heart disease and stroke, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers,” American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said in a statement Monday.

Brown said the association was encouraged by Secretary Burwell’s comments during her confirmation hearing about her commitment to educating the public on food consumption and providing access to healthier foods.

“We hope that she not only makes good on this commitment, but will push the Food and Drug Administration to establish limits for the sodium content of packaged and restaurant foods,” she commented. “Far too many years of inaction have passed; the time to make sodium reduction a national priority is now,”

In addition, Burwell’s responsibility to healthcare reform will be important to the 83 million Americans living with heart disease, as well as to the millions at risk.

“While she is inheriting an agency in the midst of carrying out the Affordable Care Act, including Medicaid expansion, we believe Secretary Burwell’s fresh perspective will sustain the recent momentum as the Marketplaces enter their second year, Brown said, adding that the healthcare regulations have already “made a huge difference” in peoples’ lives.

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