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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                      (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
For Immediate Release                                  November 19, 2000

                       STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

I congratulate Secretary Shalala on her appointment as president of the University of Miami, a post she will assume on June 1. She is a talented manager and an energetic leader who will bring great experience to the task of leading the university, its students, its faculty and its alumni. I have no doubt she will be a real asset to the university and its community.

For almost eight years, Secretary Shalala has led the Department of Health and Human Services with vigor and skill, always focused on meeting the needs of the American people. During her tenure as the longest serving Secretary in the history of the Department, she has directed the welfare reform process; made health insurance available to 2.5 million children through the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP); raised immunization rates to the highest levels in history; and led major reforms of FDA's drug approval process and food safety system.

As a Medicare trustee, she helped extend the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund, directing management reforms and launching a campaign against waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid programs that has already paid enormous dividends. She has strengthened the scientific leadership and budget of the National Institutes of Health, and she has reinvigorated the federal role in public health.

I am also pleased that Secretary Shalala intends to complete her term, staying through January 20 to finish the work we have to do for the American people. I look forward to working with her to protect the privacy of medical records, and to win congressional approval of a budget that increases our investment in biomedical research and other critical public health priorities as well as health insurance coverage to the uninsured.