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Release No: 550-01
October 30, 2001


Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr. took the oath of office yesterday as the new assistant secretary of Defense. Winkenwerder was nominated for the position by President Bush on September 21, 2001, and confirmed by the Senate on October 16, 2001.

Winkenwerder has held a variety of senior-level positions in the healthcare industry. Most recently, he was vice chairman, Office of the Chief Executive, and executive vice president of Health Care Services for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the largest health insurance plan in New England with more than 2.4 million enrollees. Before moving to Massachusetts, Winkenwerder served as associate vice president for Health Affairs and vice president of Emory Healthcare at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. From 1992 to 1995, Winkenwerder held the position of vice president and chief medical officer for Southern Operations for Prudential Healthcare based in Atlanta. Prior to this position, he served as the associate medical director at the Southeast Permanente Medical Group of Kaiser Permanente in Atlanta. From 1987 to 1988, Winkenwerder worked at the Health Care Financing Administration, now Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services, in Washington, D.C.

Winkenwerder received his bachelor's degree of science from Davidson College, Davidson, N.C., in 1976, his medical degree from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, N.C., in 1981, and his master's of business administration from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa., in 1986.

Winkenwerder has completed post graduate training and fellowships in internal medicine, epidemiology and health services research. He also completed a fellowship at the Department of Health and Human Services where he helped develop a catastrophic Medicare legislation proposal for the Reagan Administration. Winkenwerder holds a number of board memberships, has written broadly on health policy issues, and is active in a variety of professional associations.

As the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Winkenwerder serves as the principal staff assistant and advisor to the secretary and deputy secretary of Defense and the under secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness for all Department of Defense health policies, programs, and activities. He will have the responsibility to effectively execute the department's healthcare mission. This mission is to provide, and to maintain readiness to provide, healthcare services and support to members of the armed forces during military operations. In addition, the department's healthcare mission provides healthcare services and support to members of the armed forces, their family members, and others entitled to DoD healthcare.

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