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KNOXVILLE — UT Knoxville alumna and former Torchbearer Nancy-Ann Min DeParle, who has held positions in Tennessee state government and the federal government, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the Office for Health Reform.

Nancy-Ann Min DeParle
Nancy-Ann Min DeParle
DeParle, 52, grew up in Rockwood, Tenn. She attended UT Knoxville on an Andy Holt scholarship. She graduated in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. She was in the College Scholars program and majored in history. Her honors research project focused on the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII.

While at UT, DeParle was the first woman to be elected as Student Government Association president. In 1978, she was the Torchbearer, the university’s most prestigious student honor. She also served as a student member of the Board of Trustees.

Also in 1978, she was named national “Leader of the Year” by Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society for college students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni. In addition, Glamour magazine listed her as one of its “Top Ten College Women.”

DeParle has served on the UT College of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors. She was the UT Knoxville commencement speaker in March 1987.

DeParle holds a master’s degree from Oxford in 1986 and a law degree from Harvard in 1983.

While working as an attorney in Nashville, DeParle was tapped by Gov. Ned McWherter to lead the state Department of Human Services office, the agency that determines Medicaid eligibility and provides food stamps and child welfare services to more than a million Tennesseans annually.

In September 1991, DeParle moved to Washington, D.C., and joined a law firm. A year later, at age 36, she was named the associate director for health and personnel at the federal Office of Management and Budget and served as the OMB’s representative on health care reform for President Bill Clinton.

In 1994, Time magazine named DeParle as one of its top 50 future leaders.

In July 1997, DeParle transferred to the Health Care Financing Administration, now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She was there three years and then left to become a fellow of the Institute of Politics and the Interfaculty Health Policy Forum at Harvard.

Most recently, DeParle has been an investment adviser at JPMorgan Partners, LLC in Washington, D.C., and an adjunct professor of health care systems at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. She has been part of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission that advises Congress on Medicare policy and payment issues.

She is married to Jason DeParle, a senior writer at The New York Times and a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine. They have two sons.


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,