Sonsiere Cobb-Souza is the Director of the Division of Program Operations for the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She leads development and implementation of public health programs to reduce health disparities, improve quality of care and increase the diversity of the health-related workforce, as well as policy demonstrations and initiatives that target hard-to-reach, high-risk and disenfranchised racial and ethnic minority populations. During her more than 35-year public health career, Ms. Cobb-Souza held several progressively responsible public health positions at the local and state levels in Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin, and the federal level at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Prior to joining OMH, Ms. Cobb-Souza served as Deputy Director for the CDC Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities (OMHD) from 2002-2007. She also held a number of management positions at CDC, including Associate Director for Policy, Planning and Evaluation, in the OMHD. Among her accomplishments at CDC, she served as an agency expert on national minority health programs, injury and premature death affecting minority populations; led coordination of the Initiative to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities; and co-led development and implementation of CDC and HHS policies and programs related to racial and ethnic health. Ms. Cobb-Souza also served as Chief of the Training and Education Branch, National Immunization Program (NIP), and as lead project officer for National Center for Prevention Services (NCPS), National Minority Organizations (NMO) HIV Prevention Programs. She served as the program representative for the first NCPS Nongovernmental HIV External Review and led the development of the NMO HIV Prevention and Community Planning Program.
Ms. Cobb-Souza has received numerous awards, including the 2017 Secretary’s Award for Meritorious Service – Empowering Communities for a Healthier Nation Initiative, 2010 Assistant Secretary’s Award for Superior Service, the CDC Award for Exceptional Performance in Minority Health Services, the CDC Director’s Award for Outstanding Leadership and the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service for achieving the Childhood Immunization Initiative vaccine coverage goals and the highest immunization levels ever recorded in the U.S. Under Ms. Cobb-Souza’s leadership, the Public Health Training Network also selected the National Immunization Program, Training and Education Branch to receive their Outstanding Performance Award. She also received the MetroHealth Systems Outstanding Service Award for Perinatal Network Special Projects in Cleveland, OH, and the Training Institute of Wisconsin Exceptional Service Award for Training Programs in the Areas of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention and Reproductive Health.
Ms. Cobb-Souza completed her Bachelor of Science in health education and master’s program in health care administration from George Williams College in Downers Grove, IL.