Samuels to Replace Leon Rodriguez

Jocelyn Samuels has been named by Secretary Sylvia Burwell to be the next director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR). OCR is the federal agency responsible for development and enforcement of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules as well as the HITECH Breach Notification Rule. Samuels will replace Leon Rodriguez, whose nomination to serve as director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 25th. President Obama nominated Rodriguez to his new post in December.

Rodriguez led OCR since September 2011. He leaves HHS highly regarded and credited with many accomplishments in his leadership of the agency. In 2012 OCR carried out the pilot audit program that led to a permanent program that will start this fall. Rodriguez also saw OCR through the development and implementation of the most sweeping changes to the HIPAA regulations with the Omnibus Final Rule in January 2013. During his tenure with OCR Rodriguez was able to help improve patients’ rights and access to their own health information.

Samuels joins OCR after a career that has included stops on the Hill and federal agencies. She has most recently served as acting assistant attorney general leading the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Prior to her current role with DOJ, her experience included being the vice president for education and employment at the National Women’s Law Center, serving as a labor counsel to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and a policy advisor for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).