Expert Profile

Joxel Garcia
Ponce School of Medicine

Joxel Garcia served as the Assistant Secretary for Health (AHS) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from March 14, 2008 until January 20, 2009. He is a former four-star Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. He is currently the president of Ponce School of Medicine in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

As the ASH, Admiral Garcia served as the Secretary’s primary advisor on matters involving the nation’s public health and science. He also oversaw the U.S. Public Health Service and its Commissioned Corps for the Secretary. As Assistant Secretary for Health, Admiral Garcia’s responsibilities included disease prevention, health promotion, public health preparedness, women’s and minority health, the reduction of health disparities, fight against HIV/AIDS, pandemic influenza planning and vaccine preventable disease.

Dr. Garcia is a seasoned public health professional with experience in health care delivery, bioterrorism preparedness, health policy and international health affairs. Prior to becoming the ASH, Dr. Garcia served as the Senior Vice President and Senior Medical Advisor for MAXIMUS Federal Services Inc. While with MAXIMUS, Dr. Garcia oversaw the work of the MAXIMUS Center for Global Health and was the principal architect of the strategic partnership plan for the Western Hemisphere.

Prior to that, Dr. Garcia was Deputy Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/Regional Office Western Hemisphere for the World Health Organization. As Deputy Director, Dr. Garcia was responsible for setting the general direction and strategy of the organization alongside the director and for providing leadership and advice on all policy decisions. He was also responsible for maintaining effective relations between the organization and the governments of the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Dr. Garcia also led several important areas of the organization’s work including the emergency preparedness and disaster relief program.

Dr. Garcia is a native of Hatillo, Puerto Rico and a resident of Connecticut. He served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health from 1999-2003. During that time, he improved bioterrorism preparedness, launched the national smallpox preparation and vaccination plan, and led Connecticut’s response to the anthrax attack. He also created an urban health initiative to prevent disease, increase health literacy and improve economic conditions.

Dr. Garcia is a trained obstetrician and gynecologist who once served as the Assistant Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, CT.

He completed his pre-medical studies at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Mayaguez campus. He holds an M.D. from the Ponce School of Medicine in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and an M.B.A. from the University of Hartford.

Dr. Garcia has served on numerous national boards, including the National Advisory Committee on Violence against Women, National Dialogue on Cancer, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and as the president-elect of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

Dr. Garcia sees his role as Assistant Secretary for Health as an opportunity to enhance the Secretary's efforts to further the mission of HHS and the health of the nation by building, strengthening, and leveraging relationships across the public health community and the US Public Health Service while also improving healthcare for all Americans

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