CAPT Tarsha Cavanaugh, Principal Deputy Director

CAPT Tarsha Cavanaugh, PhD, MSW, LGSW
Principal Deputy Director
Office of Minority Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

CAPT Cavanaugh brings more than two decades of Federal public health experience with her to OMH. Most recently, she held the role of Senior Advisor with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW), Division of Health Careers and Financial Support (DHCFS). DHCFS supports students, nurses, health care professionals, academic institutions, and community-based organizations in providing quality health care to the nation’s underserved populations. CAPT Cavanaugh was the primary advisor for pipeline programs, loans, and scholarship programs; designed and executed strategic employee engagement efforts; and provided oversight of the BHW Peer Learning Teams’ cross-Bureau initiative aimed at strengthening academic, clinical, and community-based partnerships.

Prior to her Senior Advisor role, CAPT Cavanaugh was Chief of the Nurse Corps Scholarship Branch and managed $54 million in annual appropriations, as well as American Rescue Plan funds for the Nurse Corps Scholarship Program, to bolster the nursing workforce with students committed to providing health care in underserved communities upon graduation. She also managed the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program for students pursuing degrees in health and allied health professions to provide culturally competent care to vulnerable communities in the state of Hawaii’. During her tenure in BHW, CAPT Cavanaugh served on BHW’s Diversity and Inclusion Council that addresses HRSA’s goals to ensure the workplace culture was equitable, diverse, and inclusive. CAPT Cavanaugh also worked in the Suicide Prevention Branch in the Center for Mental Health Services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and served on the Cultural and Linguistic Workgroup that ensured compliance with addressing linguistic needs of diverse populations. CAPT Cavanaugh is no stranger to OASH as she began her USPHS career as a Project Officer in the Office of Public Health and Science (now OASH), Office of Population Affairs, Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs (now Office of Adolescent Health) where she managed programs administered under the Adolescent Family Life Title XX legislation.

CAPT Cavanaugh earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree in human services from Capella University, a Master of Social Work degree from Howard University, and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology/Criminal Justice from Bowie State University (BSU). She has several certifications as Executive Coach, Professional Coach, Workplace Mediation, and Trainer in Workplace Conflict Resolution.