Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources

Vanessa Walker Harris, MD, is the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources for Governor Ralph Northam.  Prior to her appointment, she served as director of the Office of Family Health Services at the Virginia Department of Health from 2015-2020.  In that role, she provided strategic leadership and oversight of multiple teams whose work spanned nutrition, chronic disease and risk factor surveillance, injury and violence prevention, oral health promotion, and maternal and child health.  Her tenure at the Virginia Department of Health included service as director of the Division of Prevention and Health Promotion within the Office of Family Health Services, providing guidance and direction for planning and implementation of  chronic disease prevention, injury and violence prevention, tobacco use prevention, and oral health programs from 2014 to 2015.  She began her career in public health as Medical Director of the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Before establishing a career in public health, she practiced clinical endocrinology at Johns Hopkins Bayview. Originally from Ohio, she earned a BS in Chemistry from Hampton University and a medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She completed internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins Bayview and endocrine fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  She is board certified in endocrinology.

Staff and Contact Information

Secretary of Health and Human Resources
Daniel Carey, M.D.

Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources
Marvin Figueora

Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources
Dr. Vanessa Walker Harris

Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Resources
Catie Finley

Constituent Services
Dorothy Swann

Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Resources
Rachel Becker