Sharunda D. Buchanan, M.S. Ph.D.

Interim Director, Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) Office of the Assistant

Dr. Buchanan was recently named as Interim Director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) within the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE) in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH).

Having served as Senior Advisor of HHS’ Environmental Justice Unit (EJU) over the past few months, she brings a wealth of experience to the Department.  Dr. Buchanan: 1) leads initiatives that integrate environmental justice into the HHS mission to improve health in communities across the nation; 2) advises senior leadership at OASH and HHS on environmental justice and health issues; 3) provides leadership and subject matter expertise to develop and implement an HHS-wide strategy on environmental justice and health; and 4) represents OASH and HHS at agency and interagency settings.

After receiving a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in chemistry, toxicology, and biochemistry, from Texas Southern University and Clark-Atlanta University, respectively, Dr. Buchanan joined the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) as an Environmental Health Scientist in the Division of Toxicology in 1990; she later joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an Epidemic Intelligence Officer assigned to the Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects (DEHHE). 

During her six-year tenure with DEHHE, Dr. Buchanan greatly contributed to the expansion of the National Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Healthy Homes programmatic and research agendas. 

In 2001, Dr. Buchanan became Chief of the Environmental Health Services Branch, and served in this capacity until becoming Director of NCEH’s Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services (DEEHS).  As DEEHS director for a little over a decade (2007-2017), Dr. Buchanan provided leadership, direction and guidance to a multi-disciplinary team overseeing national and international programs related to lead poisoning prevention, food and drinking water outbreak investigations; chemical demilitarization of warfare agents; cruise ship inspections; community design, and overall performance improvement of core and emergency environmental public health services. 

As HHS’ representative and co-lead of the Lead Subcommittee of the Presential Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks for Children and representative for the past seven years; Director of CDC’s Office of Priority Projects, Innovation and Environmental Justice for the past six years; and now as HHS’ Interim Director of the new HHS Office of Environmental Justice, Dr. Buchanan is committed to advancing health equity, attaining environmental justice, and improving environmental public health across the country.