The United States Department of Health and Human Services, often abbreviated HHS, is a Cabinet department of the United States government with the goal of protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services.
The department was created when President Jimmy Carter signed the Department of Education Organization Act (PL 96-88) into law on October 17, 1979. It split the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, (HEW), which included the G.I. Bill and Veterans' Administration into the Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Department of Education. Both began operation on May 4, 1980.
It is administered by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, who is appointed by the President of the United States. The current Secretary is Michael O. Leavitt.
The United States Public Health Service, led by the Surgeon General, is the uniformed service of this agency.
It no longer includes the Social Security Administration, which was made independent in 1995.