National Health Agencies: a Shortlist

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) serves and works with a number of agencies. National health agencies fill an important need in communities across America and play an essential role in the country’s government and health standards.

Here is a short list of national health agencies and what they do.

1. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Helps people make better decisions about health care by supporting health care research, reducing costs, addressing patient safety and broadening access to effective services.

2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)

atsdrPrevents exposure and reduces negative effects of exposure to hazardous substances from waste sites, unplanned releases and other sources of pollution.

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Works with national and international partners to monitor, research, prevent and train individuals on diseases and public health concerns.

4. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Ensures the safety of foods, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, biological products and medical devices by monitoring the manufacture, import, transport and storage of these things.

5. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

hrsaWorks to improve and extend the lives of medically underserved people through state programs, as well as train a health workforce that is ready and willing to serve these communities.

6. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

Administers two of the largest federal health-care programs, as well as a number of others, to ensure health-care services for its participants.

7. Indian Health Service (IHS)


Provides comprehensive health-care services to American Indians and Alaska Natives who belong to more than 550 federally recognized tribes in 35 states.

8. National Institutes of Health (NIH)

As the nation’s medical research agency, the NIH provides leadership and financial support to researchers in every state and throughout the world.

9. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH)

This office serves as the headquarters for leadership and coordination in public health and sciences across HHS while also providing counsel to the secretary on public health and science issues.

10. Program Support Center (PSC)

Provides products and services on a competitive, fee-for-service basis to customers throughout HHS, as well as approximately 13 other executive departments and 18 independent federal agencies.

11. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)


This administration aims to reduce illness, death, disability and cost by improving the quality and availability of prevention, treatment and rehabilitative services for substance abuse and mental illness.

12. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)

Serves as the Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s principal advisory staff on issues related to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies.

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