Joxel García is the President and Dean of the Ponce School of Medicine in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Ponce School of Medicine is recognized as one of the most important Medical Schools with Hispanic heritage across the nation and the western hemisphere. Its major goal is to prepare primary care physicians to serve Puerto Rico and the continental US.
Dr. Garcia, a physician and former four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, served as the 13th Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from March 13, 2008 to January 20, 2009.
As the ASH, García served as the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ primary advisor on matters involving the nation’s public health and science. He also oversaw the U.S. Public Health Service and its Commissioned Corps for the Secretary. García is a seasoned public health professional with experience in health care delivery, bioterrorism preparedness, health policy and international health affairs.
Prior to becoming the ASH, García served as the Senior Vice President and Senior Medical Advisor for MAXIMUS Federal Services Inc. While with MAXIMUS, García oversaw the work of the MAXIMUS Center for Global Health and was the principal architect of the strategic partnership plan for the Western Hemisphere.
Prior to that, García was Deputy Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/Regional Office Western Hemisphere for the World Health Organization. As Deputy Director, García was responsible for setting the general direction and strategy of the organization alongside the director and for providing leadership and advice on all policy decisions.
García is a native of Hatillo, Puerto Rico and a resident of Connecticut. He served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health from 1999 to 2003. During that time, he improved bioterrorism preparedness, launched the national smallpox preparation and vaccination plan, and led Connecticut’s response to the anthrax attack. He also created an urban health initiative to prevent disease, increase health literacy and improve economic conditions.
García is a trained obstetrician and gynecologist and once served as the Assistant Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut. He completed his pre-medical studies at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Mayaguez campus. He holds a medical degree from the Ponce School of Medicine in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Hartford.
García has served on numerous national boards, including the National Advisory Committee on Violence against Women, National Dialogue on Cancer, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and as the president-elect of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
García saw his role as Assistant Secretary for Health as an opportunity to enhance the Secretary's efforts to further the mission of HHS and the health of the nation by building, strengthening, and leveraging relationships across the public health community and the US Public Health Service while also improving healthcare for all Americans.