Jessica Swafford Marcella, M.P.A.

Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Population Affairs

Director, Office of Adolescent Health

Headshot for  Jessica Swafford Marcella

Jessica Swafford Marcella, M.P.A was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs and Director of the Office of Adolescent Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on May 10, 2021, after working for over 20 years to advance sexual and reproductive health.  

In this capacity, Ms. Marcella oversees the Office of Population Affairs, which advises the HHS Secretary and the Department on a range of public health priorities, including quality family planning and adolescent health, and administers nearly $400 million in grants to support family planning service provision, primary prevention, and information and education activities through the Title X family planning program, the evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention program, and the Embryo Adoption Awareness program.

Ms. Marcella was most recently the Vice President of Advocacy and Communications at the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA). During her time at the association, Ms. Marcella worked with a diverse cross-section of policy, research, communications, and health partners at the national, state, and local level to ensure access to voluntary, comprehensive, and culturally sensitive sexual and reproductive health care services and supplies and to support sexual and reproductive health equity.

Prior to joining NFPRHA, Ms. Marcella served as a Vice President in the Health and Wellness practice of the Glover Park Group (GPG), where she specialized in government affairs, strategic planning, and public policy for the firm’s health care clients. During her time at GPG, Ms. Marcella played an integral role in the development, coordination, and execution of both legislative and regulatory agendas in the health care arena with a particular expertise in public health policy. 

From 2006 to 2010, she worked at The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (now Power to Decide), where she was Assistant Director of Public Policy. During her tenure, she gained extensive experience in developing and advancing health policy. In addition to her responsibilities fostering, strengthening, and maintaining relationships with an array of stakeholders, she covered a broad policy portfolio that included reproductive health, public health and prevention, Medicaid, community health centers, health disparities, and health professions training.

Early in her career Ms. Marcella also spent four years serving as a congressional aide on Capitol Hill, where she focused on domestic social policy with an emphasis on health care, education, and appropriations. 

Ms. Marcella holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a Master of Public Administration from The George Washington University. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, two children, and a dog.