Global & Disaster Medicine

The Office of Health Affairs (OHA): The Department of Homeland Security’s principal authority for all medical and health issues.

Office of Health Affairs

OHA anticipates the public health impact of biological attacks, chemical releases, pandemics and infectious disease threats, and disasters to help prepare the nation to respond and rebound. Our expertise supports DHS operations, its workforce, and the preparedness of public health and medical communities.

OHA advises DHS leadership about health security issues, guides DHS policies to keep its workforce safe, and coordinates stakeholders at all levels of government to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the public health consequences of national threats and hazards.

OHA helps inform federal, state, and local decision-making about high consequence biological threats with biosurveillance programs that give early warnings for a rapid response to contain and limit the impact.

OHA helps communities nationwide prepare for a chemical or biological attack and build their own capacity to respond and recover.


To advise, promote, integrate, and enable a safe and secure workforce and nation in pursuit of national health security.

View the Office of Health Affairs Organizational Chart


  • Provide expert health and medical advice to department leadership
  • Build national resilience against health incidents
  • Enhance national and department medical first responder capabilities
  • Protect the department workforce against health threats

Leadership and Organization

OHA is led by the Assistant Secretary and Chief Medical Officer.


  • The Health Threats Resilience Division – helps the nation prepare for and respond to the health impacts of chemical and biological incidents and other threats and hazards.
  • The Workforce Health and Medical Support Division – leads health protection and medical oversight activities for the DHS workforce and coordinates with stakeholders nationwide to strengthen the emergency medical response system.  OHA guides DHS medical services with medical expertise, oversight, credentialing, protocols, and standards. OHA medical and veterinary experts guide the department on health threats to ensure a ready and resilient workforce. And OHA collaborates with federal, state, and local emergency medical services stakeholders to ensure we can work together in a crisis.


Contact Information

By mail or phone

Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
Attn: Office of Health Affairs

Phone: 202-254-6479

By e-mail

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