George L. Askew, MD, a board certified pediatrician with a longstanding history of innovative work in child and family advocacy and executive leadership, was appointed by the Obama Administration to serve as the first Chief Medical Officer for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In this role he provides expert advice and consultation to the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families on the development of programs, policies, and initiatives that address the health needs and strengths of children and families facing our country’s most significant social, economic, and health challenges.
This has included: Affordable Care Act education and outreach, the health of victims and survivors of human trafficking, examining the intersection of health outcomes and the social determinants of health, the health and well-being of unaccompanied immigrant children, and the expansion of national service. Dr. Askew is a former Senior Policy Advisor for Early Childhood Health and Development in ACF, where his role was leading and supervising a team of staff working on inter-departmental health-related early childhood initiatives. Prior to joining HHS he was Deputy CEO and Chief Development Officer for Voices for America’s Children, Founder of Docs For Tots, and former CEO and President of Jumpstart for Young Children. He is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC.
Because of his initiative, vision, and national impact, in 2005 Dr. Askew was named an Ashoka International Fellow. He was recognized as a national and global leader for his efforts to link health professionals with early childhood advocacy, embodying the ideals of civic engagement and creative solution-building nurtured by the international fellowship program. Ashoka identifies and supports social entrepreneurs as they catalyze change in their societies.
Prior to launching Docs For Tots, he was a Fellow in the Soros Open Society Institute, Medicine as a Profession, Advocacy Fellowship for Physicians, working with ZERO TO THREE (National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families) in Washington, D.C. Between stints as a Soros Advocacy Fellow, Dr. Askew served as Chief of the Health and Disabilities Services Branch of the Head Start Bureau and Medical Advisor for the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families in HHS. There his primary job was to provide leadership in developing policies, oversight and support systems to improve the quality of outcomes of medical, dental, nutritional, mental health and disabilities services to more than 900,000 Head Start and Early Head Start children. Just prior to coming to Washington, he was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Public Health (Maternal and Child Health) at the Boston University School of Medicine and Director of the Division of Community Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center.
Dr. Askew was born and raised in inner-city Cleveland, Ohio. He was a Head Start graduate and later attended Harvard University and received a BA in Psychology and Social Relations. He played on the Harvard Rugby 1984 National Collegiate Champion team. Upon graduation from Harvard he received the Kirkland House Community Service and Spirit of Kirkland House Awards.
Dr. Askew is a graduate of the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. While a medical student he was selected as an American Medical Student Association International Health Fellow and spent his final year of medical school at the School of Medical Sciences, University of Science & Tech in Kumasi, Ghana, West Africa. He was honored at his medical school graduation with the Harry Resnick Memorial Award "given to the student who is deserving by virtue of unusual accomplishment.” After medical school he completed residency training in Pediatrics and International Health at Rainbow Babies & Childrens Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Class of 1992 Epidemic Intelligence Service, also known as the “Disease Detectives.”
In November of 2013 Dr. Askew was inducted into the Benedictine High School “Hall of Distinction”. In 2011 ZERO TO THREE recognized Dr. Askew as the honored guest and discussant for the inaugural Stanley Greenspan Memorial Leadership Conversation. In 2008-09 he served on the Obama-Biden Transition Team reviewing ACF within HHS. In 2006 he was honored with the Salute to Excellence Award for significant contributions in Health from the Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. In 2005-06 he was a consultant to the Center for American Progress serving as a Senior Fellow in their Health Policy Group. In 1999, he was one of 50 professionals identified as a “Future Leader” and invited to participate in the New Leadership Program of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Child Health Research Center. In 1999, Dr. Askew was honored with acceptance into the inaugural class of ZERO TO THREE Leaders for the 21st Century Mid–Career Fellows. He was a national finalist in the 1995-1996 White House Fellowship Program.
He lives in Takoma Park, Maryland with his wife Katherine and son Ian. His daughter Morgan is a junior at the University of Maryland.