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Donna Shalala received the 2009 Dole Leadership Prize for her long record of public service, including acting as co-chair of the Commission on Care for Returning Wounded Warriors with former Sen. Bob Dole. Chosen in 2007 by President George W. Bush, Shalala and Dole led a task force to evaluate how injured veterans transition from active duty to civilian society.
In 1993, Shalala was appointed U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) by President Bill Clinton. She served in that post for eight years to become the longest serving HHS Secretary in history.
As HHS Secretary, Shalala directed the welfare reform process, made health insurance available to an estimated 3.3 million children through the approval of all State Children’s Health Insurance Programs, raised child immunization rates to the highest levels in history, and revitalized the National Institutes of Health.
At the end of her tenure as HHS Secretary, The Washington Post described her as “one of the most successful government managers of modern times.”
In June 2008, President Bush presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. That same year, she was honored as one of “25 Great Public Servants” by The Council for Excellence in Government.
At the time that she was awarded the Dole Leadership Prize, Shalala was President of the University of Miami.