Debra Johnson

Debra Johnson

Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Debra Johnson is the deputy assistant secretary for external affairs and acting director for the Office of Regional Operations (ORO) at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF).  She joined the Biden Administration in February 2021 and is in charge of ACF’s stakeholder outreach, also serving as the political leadership over ACF’s Office of Regional Operations.

Johnson came to ACF from the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families, where she served as the director of communications.  She began her career as the afternoon news reporter at WVON radio in Chicago before she joined the Office of the Mayor in South Bend, Indiana, as the director of communications. She then served as the director of communications to Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush.

She graduated from Saint Louis University where she earned a dual bachelor of arts degree in political science and communication.