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Guide to Information Resources

Department of Health and Human Services
Office of the Secretary
Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201


HHS Information On-Line
The Freedom of Information Act and How to Request Information
HHS: Operating Divisions, Programs, Publications
Public Use Data Files

Information On-Line

Much information is now available on World Wide Web (Web) sites via the Internet. The HHS Home Page is located at from where you can access and search electronically available HHS information; you may also go directly to HHS Agencies' (also referred to as Operating Divisions (OPDIVs)) home pages. Other HHS program services, clearinghouses, and information centers' telephone numbers and Web site locations are listed in the HHS Information and Hotline Directory located at


How to Request Information

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the HHS Freedom of Information Regulations (45 CFR Part 5), the HHS policy is to answer all requests as accurately and completely as possible from existing records. In order to accomplish this most efficiently we require all requests to be submitted in writing, by postal service, facsimile, messenger, or electronically/online; requests must contain the requestor's postal address and the name of the person responsible for paying any fees that may be charged. A phone number where we can reach the requester to get clarification of the request or resolve other issues concerning the request is strongly recommended. Providing the request in writing assures that all the rights provided by the FOIA and these regulations are protected (for example, the right to administratively appeal any denials we may make and the right to have our decisions reviewed in Federal court). A copy of the current HHS Freedom Of Information Regulations and available HHS FOIA annual reports can be obtained from the HHS Freedom Of Information Office (see addresses below), or on the HHS FOIA website.

Your request should identify the documents that you want as specifically as possible to increase the likelihood that the agency will be able to locate them. Any facts you can furnish about the time, authors, events, subjects, and other details of the documents will be helpful to the agency in deciding where to search and in determining which records are responsive to your request. In addition to having the potential to be very costly in terms of fees, "all the records you have on . . . ." types of requests tend to require a great deal of search time, even if few or no records are found on the subject you are interested in. If you are not sure how to write your request or what details to include, contact a Freedom of Information Officer.

Only Freedom of Information Officers have the authority to release or deny records, or to waive or reduce fees. If the records you seek include records addressed to, sent from, or created by an official or office of the Office of the Secretary, including its staff offices, or of any Regional Director's Office; or any unit of the HHS not specifically identified below; or if the records you seek involve the Office of the Secretary and any of the organizational units listed below; or if you seek records which cross HHS organizational lines, other than those involving more than one of the Public Health Service (PHS) components, only the HHS Freedom of Information Officer may determine whether to release or deny those records, or to waive or reduce fees associated with responding to your request.

If the records you seek are exclusively records of the Office of Public Health and Science, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, the Program Support Center, or involve more than one of the Department's Public Health Service components, including records in the regional offices, only the PHS Freedom of Information Officer may determine whether to release or deny those records or waive or reduce fees associated with responding to your FOIA request.

If you are unable to locate the information you seek online or to obtain it from one of the resources listed elsewhere in this guide, please address your request to the Freedom Of Information Officer of the HHS OPDIV that is most likely to have the records you want. If you cannot make this determination, send the request to: HHS Freedom of Information Officer, Mary E. Switzer Building, Room 5416,Department of Health and Human Services, 330 Avenue C, SW, Washington, DC 20201. Write the words "Freedom of Information Act Request" on the envelope and on the letter. In order to submit online use the Online Request Form.


HHS: Operating Divisions and Programs

Each of the 12 HHS Operating Divisions has its own contact for its publications. Submit your request for information directly to the appropriate office. Further detail on the Department of Health and Human Services is available in the current United States Government Manual, available on-line. See the "Government Manual" database on the Web:

Office of the Secretary (OS) -- -- 202-619-0257 or Toll-Free: 1-877-696-6775

The Secretary of Health and Human Services advises the President on health, welfare, and income security plans, policies, and programs of the Federal Government. The Secretary directs Department staff in carrying out the approved programs and activities of the Department and promotes general public understanding of the Department's goals, programs, and objectives. The Secretary administers these functions through the Office of the Secretary and the 12 operating divisions.

Inspector General Hotline: Individuals wishing to report fraud, waste, or abuse against HHS programs should write to: Office of Inspector General, Attn: HOTLINE, P.O. Box 23489, 330 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201 or E-mail at

Administration on Aging (AoA) - - 202-619-0724

The Administration on Aging, the principal agency designated to carry out the provisions of the Older Americans Act of 1965, is responsible for all issues involving the elderly. The Administration develops policies, plans, and programs designed to promote the welfare of the elderly; promotes their needs by planning programs and developing policy; and provides policy, procedural direction, and technical assistance to States and Native American tribal governments.

Administration for Children and Families (ACF) -- -- 202-401-9200

  • Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF). Administers State grant programs to assist States in providing independent living, child welfare services, foster care, and adoption assistance; child care programs; and State grant programs to improve and increase child abuse prevention and treatment activities and develop family preservation and family support services. Administers the Head Start Program; services for runaway and homeless youth and their families; the Youth Gang Drug Prevention Program; child welfare services research, demonstration and training programs, the Adoption Opportunities Program, and other discretionary child welfare services programs; child abuse and neglect research and demonstration programs; and the Community Schools Youth Services and Supervision Grant Program
  • Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD)
  • Administration for Native Americans (ANA). Promotes the goal of social and economic self-sufficiency of American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Native American Pacific Islanders, including Natives of Samoa, Guam, Palau, and the Northern Marianas.
  • Child Support Enforcement (CSE). The Office assists States in establishing adequate reporting procedures and in maintaining records. It operates the Federal Parent Locator Service, including the National New Hire Directory; certifies to the Secretary of the Treasury amounts of overdue child support that require collection in specific instances; works with States to automate their child support enforcement programs; and reviews State applications for use of U.S. courts to enforce child support orders.
  • Community Services. Responsible for administering programs that serve low-income and needy. Administers the Community Services Block Grant, Social Services Block Grant, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program. Develops new and innovative approaches to reduce welfare dependency.
  • Refugee Resettlement. Policies/programs refugee resettlement, immigration, and repatriation.
  • Office of Family Assistance. Public assistance and economic self-sufficiency programs. Administers the following programs nationwide: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Aid to the Aged, Blind, and Disabled in Guam, Puerto Rico, and The Virgin Islands; the Emergency Assistance Program.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) -- -- 301-427-1364

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, as part of the Public Health Service, is responsible for supporting research designed to improve the quality of healthcare, reduce its costs, address patient safety and medical errors, and broaden access to essential services.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) -- -- 404-498-01101

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, as part of the Public Health Service, is charged with the prevention of exposure to toxic substances and the prevention of the adverse health effects and diminished quality of life associated with exposure to hazardous substances from waste sites, unplanned releases, and other sources of pollution present in the environment.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) -- -- 404-639-3534

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as part of the Public Health Service, is charged with protecting the public health of the Nation by providing leadership and direction in the prevention of and control of diseases and other preventable conditions and responding to public health emergencies.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) -- -- 410-786-3000

Formerly the Health Care Financing Administration. For the statement of reorganization citing their official change of Agency name, see the Federal Register of July 5, 2001, 66 FR 35437]

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services was created to combine under one administration the oversight of the Medicare program, the Federal portion of the Medicaid program and State Children's Health Insurance Program, and related quality assurance activities.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) -- -- 1-888-463-6332

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as part of the Public Health Service, is charged with ensuring that food is safe, pure, and wholesome; human and animal drugs, biological products, and medical devices are safe and effective; and electronic products that emit radiation are safe.

  • Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
  • Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research
  • Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
  • Center for Veterinary Medicine
  • Center for Devices and Radiological Health
  • National Center for Toxicological Research

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) -- -- 1-888-275-4772

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable.

Comprising six bureaus and ten offices, HRSA provides leadership and financial support to health care providers in every state and U.S. territory. HRSA grantees provide health care to uninsured people, people living with HIV/AIDS, and pregnant women, mothers and children. In addition, HRSA works to improve systems of care in rural communities.

HRSA oversees organ, bone marrow and cord blood donation. It supports programs that prepare against bioterrorism, compensates individuals harmed by vaccination, and maintains databases that protect against health care malpractice and health care waste, fraud and abuse.

Indian Health Service (IHS) -- -- 301-443-3593

The Indian Health Service, as part of the Public Health Service, provides a comprehensive health services delivery system for American Indians and Alaska Natives, with opportunity for maximum tribal involvement in developing and managing programs to meet their health needs. It assists Native American tribes in developing their health programs; facilitates and assists tribes in coordinating health planning, obtaining and utilizing health resources available through Federal, State, and local programs, operating comprehensive health programs, and evaluating health programs; and provides comprehensive healthcare services including hospital and ambulatory medical care, preventive and rehabilitative services, and development of community sanitation facilities.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) -- -- 301-496-4000

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), as part of the Public Health Service, supports biomedical and behavioral research domestically and abroad, conducts research in its own laboratories and clinics, trains promising young researchers, and promotes acquisition and distribution of medical knowledge.

  • Aging. The National Institute on Aging conducts and supports biomedical, social, and behavioral research to increase knowledge of the aging process and the physical, psychological, and social factors associated with aging. Internet:
  • Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism conducts and supports biomedical and behavioral research, in order to provide science-based approaches to the prevention and treatment of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Internet:
  • Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases conducts and supports research, research training, and clinical evaluations on the causes, treatment, and prevention of a wide variety of infectious, allergic, and immunologic diseases. Internet:
  • Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases supports research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases. Internet:
  • Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering conducts, coordinates, and supports research, training, dissemination of health information, and other programs with respect to biomedical imaging, biomedical engineering, and associated technologies and modalities with biomedical applications. Internet:
  • Cancer. The National Cancer Institute developed a national cancer program to expand existing scientific knowledge on cancer cause and prevention as well as on the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of cancer patients. Research activities encompass basic biological, clinical, prevention, and behavioral research. Internet:
  • Child Health and Human Development. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development conducts and supports laboratory, clinical, and epidemiological research on the reproductive, neurobiologic, developmental, and behavioral processes that determine and maintain the health of children, adults, families, and populations. Internet:
  • Clinical Center. The Clinical Center is designed to bring scientists working in Institute laboratories into proximity with clinicians caring for patients, so that they may collaborate on problems of mutual concern. The research institutes select patients, referred to NIH by themselves or by physicians throughout the United States and overseas, for clinical studies of specific diseases and disorders. Internet:
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The Center is dedicated to exploring complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science; educating and training complementary and alternative medicine researchers; and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. Through its programs, the Center seeks to facilitate the integration of safe and effective complementary and alternative practices into conventional medicine. Internet:
  • Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders conducts and supports biomedical and behavioral research and research training on normal mechanisms as well as diseases and disorders of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language through a diversity of research performed in its own laboratories, and a program of research and center grants. Internet:
  • Dental and Craniofacial Diseases. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research conducts and supports research and research training into the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of craniofacial, oral, and dental diseases and disorders. Internet:
  • Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases conducts, fosters, and supports basic and clinical research into the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diabetes, endocrine, and metabolic diseases, digestive diseases and nutrition, kidney and urologic diseases, and blood diseases. Internet:
  • Drug Abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse 's primary mission is to lead the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction through the strategic support and conduct of research across a broad range of disciplines and the rapid and effective dissemination and use of the results of that research to significantly improve drug abuse and addiction prevention, treatment, and policy. Internet:
  • Environmental Health Sciences. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences seeks to reduce the burden of human illness and dysfunction by understanding the elements of environmental exposures, human susceptibility, and time and how these elements interrelate. Internet:
  • Fogarty International Center. The Center promotes and supports international scientific research to reduce disparities in global health; fosters biomedical research partnerships through grants, fellowships, and international agreements; and provides leadership in international science policy and research strategies. Internet:
  • General Medical Sciences. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences supports basic biomedical research and research training in areas ranging from cell biology, chemistry, and biophysics to genetics, pharmacology, and systemic response to trauma. Internet:
  • Heart, Lung, and Blood Diseases. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides leadership for a national program in diseases of the heart, blood vessels, lung, and blood; sleep disorders; and blood resources. It conducts, fosters, and supports an integrated and coordinated program of basic research, clinical investigations and trials, observational studies, and demonstration and education projects. Internet:
  • Human Genome Research. The National Human Genome Research Institute formulates research goals and long-range plans to accomplish the mission of the human genome project. Internet:
  • Medical Library. The National Library of Medicine serves as the Nation's chief medical information source and is authorized to provide medical library services and online bibliographic search capabilities, such as MEDLINE and TOXLINE, to public and private agencies, organizations, institutions, and individuals. Internet:
  • Mental Health. The National Institute of Mental Health supports and conducts fundamental research in neuroscience, genetics, molecular biology, and behavior as the foundation of an extensive clinical research portfolio which seeks to expand and refine treatments available for illnesses such as schizophrenia; depressive disorders; severe anxiety; childhood mental disorders; and other mental disorders. Internet:
  • Minority Health and Health Disparities. The National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities advises the NIH Director and the Institute and Center Directors on the development of NIH-wide policy issues related to minority health disparities research, research on other health disparities, and related research training; develops a comprehensive strategic plan governing the conduct and support of all NIH minority health disparities research, research on other health disparities, and related research training activities; and administers funds for the support of that research through grants and through leveraging the programs of the NIH. Internet:
  • Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke mission is to reduce the burden of neurological diseases by conducting and supporting fundamental and applied research on human neurological disorders. It also conducts and supports research on the development and function of the normal brain and nervous system in order to better understand normal processes relating to disease states. Internet:
  • Nursing Research. The National Institute of Nursing Research provides leadership for nursing research, supports and conducts research and training, and disseminates information to build a scientific base for nursing practice and patient care and to promote health and ameliorate the effects of illness on the American people. Internet:
  • Ophthalmological Diseases. The National Eye Institute conducts, fosters, and supports research on the causes, natural history, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders of the eye and visual system. It also directs the National Eye Health Education Program. Internet:
  • Research Resources. The National Center for Research Resources enhances the research capabilities of institutions and their investigators; provides competitive support to renovate or construct modern biomedical research facilities; purchases shared research instrumentation; and develops or enhances the research capacity among those institutions which have not had the opportunity to fully participate in previous NIH research programs. It funds research networks of centers to facilitate patient-oriented research and provides centers for access to sophisticated biomedical research technology and resource centers and biorepositories to conduct research on human diseases with animal models. Internet:
  • Scientific Review. The Center for Scientific Review receives and assigns applications for peer reviews to scientific review groups whose members hold advanced degrees and are established investigators in the extramural community. After review, applications are referred to funding components for potential award. Internet:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) -- -- 240-276-2000

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a part of the Public Health Service, provides national leadership to ensure that knowledge acquired is effectively used for the prevention and treatment of addictive and mental disorders. It strives to improve access and reduce barriers to high quality, effective programs and services for individuals who suffer from or are at risk for these disorders, as well as for their families and communities. SAMHSA is comprised of:

Public Use Data Files

Statistics and data, as well as information on how to order public use data files, are available at Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Research Data Assistance Center (ResDAC) or you can contact CMS directly by writing to the address below.

CMS Public Use Files
7500 Security Boulevard, N1-15-03
Baltimore, MD 21244-1850

Last updated: 2/17/2010