Ellen Semonoff Named to Key Obama Administration Health & Wellness Advisory Post


President Barack Obama last week announced the appointment of Ellen Semonoff, Assistant City Manager for Human Services for the City of Cambridge, to the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health.

Comprised of 25 members who represent a diverse group of health professionals and expertise, the Advisory Group offers policy and program recommendations to the National Prevention Council and advises them on effective, science-based prevention and health promotion practices.

In a recent White House press release, President Obama said, “Our nation will be greatly served by the talent and expertise these individuals bring to their new roles. I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this Administration, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

In addition to her position with the City of Cambridge, Ms. Semonoff also serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of the Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard-affiliated public healthcare system that serves Cambridge, Somerville and Boston's metro-north region.  Previously, she served the City of Cambridge in various key management roles, including Deputy Director of the Department of Human Services and Assistant to the City Manager.  Ms. Semonoff also served the State of Massachusetts as Coordinator of Employment Services in the Massachusetts Department of Employment and Training.  Earlier in her career, she practiced law at the firm Hill & Barlow.  Ms. Semonoff clerked for Chief Judge Frank Kaufman in the U.S. District Court in Maryland, Judge Spottswood Robinson III in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court.  She holds a B.A. from Brandeis University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Reflecting on Ms. Semonoff’s appointment, Cambridge City Manager Robert W. Healy said, “Ellen has been a valued member of my team for many years.  Her work promoting health and human services in the local community will be further enhanced by her participation in this very important federal health initiative.”

“I know from working closely with Ellen how qualified and well-suited she is for this new position,” added Dennis Keefe, Chief Executive Officer of Cambridge Health Alliance. “Her knowledge, expertise, and compassion have helped us sustain our critical community health mission, and those same characteristics will make her an invaluable asset to the President as he seeks to improve the health of all Americans.”                                                                         

Backgrounder on National Prevention Council
In 2010, President Obama established the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council, known as the National Prevention Council.  Chaired by U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, the Council is comprised of 17 Federal department and agency heads responsible for coordinating and leading prevention, wellness and health promotion efforts across the Federal Government and the Nation.

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