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Joseph A. Califano Jr.
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Mr. Califano is Founder and Chairman Emeritus of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, an independent non-profit research center affiliated with Columbia University in New York City. Founded in 1992, CASA is now a think/action tank with a staff of more than 60 professionals, including 8 Ph.D.s, 21 Masters, and five lawyers. It conducts public policy research and evaluates prevention and treatment programs involving all substances (alcohol, illegal, prescription and performance-enhancing drugs, nicotine) and has mounted demonstration programs at more than 119 sites in 48 cities and counties in 21 states, and one Native American reservation.

He has been Adjunct Professor of Public Health (Health Policy and Management) at Columbia University's Medical School (Department of Psychiatry) and School of Public Health and is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

His twelfth book, How To Raise A Drug Free Kid—The Straight Dope for Parents, was published by Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone/Fireside Division in August 2009.

His eleventh book, High Society—How Substance Abuse Ravages America and What To Do About It, was published in 2007 by PublicAffairs Press.

His memoir, Inside—A Public and Private Life, was published in 2004 by PublicAffairs. His book, The Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson, was republished in 2000 by Texas A & M University Press with a new afterward drawing on tapes released by the LBJ Library.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York, on May 15, 1931. He attended St. Gregory's Elementary School and Brooklyn Preparatory School in Brooklyn, New York.

Mr. Califano received his Bachelor of Arts degree from The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1952, and his LL.B., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1955. In law school, he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

In 1955, Mr. Califano enlisted in the Navy as an officer candidate. He was commissioned an ensign in November 1955, served three years in the Office of the Judge Advocate General in Washington, D.C., and was released to inactive duty in October, 1958, as a lieutenant. He associated with the law firm of Dewey Ballantine in New York City from October 1958, until April 1961.

In April 1961, Mr. Califano became Special Assistant to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense. In July 1962, he was appointed Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. On July 1, 1963, he was appointed General Counsel of the Army. He also served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army for Civil Functions, supervising the Corps of Engineers' Civil Works Program and was a member of the President's Appalachian Regional Commission. In early 1964, Mr. Califano was selected to serve as the principal legal advisor to the United States Delegation to the Investigating Committee of the Organization of American States on the Panama riots of January 1964. Subsequently, he was also selected to present the United States case before the International Commission of Jurists during hearings held in Panama dealing with those riots. In recognition of his work as General Counsel of the Department of the Army, Mr. Califano was awarded the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, the highest civilian award of the Army.

On April 1, 1964, Mr. Califano was appointed Special Assistant to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense. He had special responsibilities for Department of Defense liaison with the Office of the President of the United States. He also acted as Executive Secretary of the President's Advisory Committee on Supersonic Transport, as the Department of Defense representative on the President's Committee on the Economic Impact of Defense and Disarmament, and as a member of the Federal Radiation Council. In recognition of his work as the Special Assistant to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense, Mr. Califano was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal of the Department of Defense.

Mr. Califano was appointed Special Assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 26, 1965. In this position, Mr. Califano served as LBJ's top domestic aide, developing the President's legislative program as well as helping coordinate economic policies. He also worked on a variety of domestic problems, including labor-management relations, balance of payments, health care, education, environmental and urban issues, and civil rights. He served in this position until January 20, 1969. While in this post, The New York Times called him "The Deputy President for Domestic Affairs."

Mr. Califano was a member of the Washington law firm of Arnold & Porter from March 1969 until May 1971. He was a member of the Washington law firm of Williams, Connolly & Califano from June 1971 until January 1977.

In January 1977, Mr. Califano became Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. He served in that Cabinet post until August 1979. He put the Department through the most complete reorganization in its twenty-five year history; mounted major health promotion and disease prevention programs, including childhood immunization, a national anti-smoking campaign, an alcoholism initiative, and issuance of Healthy People, the first Surgeon General's Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention which for the first time set health goals for the American people; began the collection of hundreds of millions of dollars of defaulted student loans, and instituted computerized techniques to police welfare, Medicare and Medicaid programs; worked with the Congress to maintain the financial integrity of the Social Security system, to contain health care costs, and to restructure Federal aid to elementary, secondary and higher education, and issued the first regulations to provide equal opportunity to the handicapped and to provide equal athletic opportunity to women under Title IX.

As Secretary, Mr. Califano funded the nation’s first free standing hospice in Branford, CT, and issued regulations to make medicare reimbursement available for hospice care.

In January 1980, Mr. Califano formed the law firm of Califano, Ross & Heineman in Washington, D.C. From 1983 until 1992, he was senior partner and head of the Washington office of Dewey Ballantine. In 1992, he founded The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.

Mr. Califano is the author of twelve books. In early 1969, he traveled around the world on a study of the "student-youth-and-establishment" problem under a Ford Foundation grant. He wrote about those travels in his book, The Student Revolution: A Global Confrontation, published by W.W. Norton in 1969. Mr. Califano's second book, A Presidential Nation, was published by W.W. Norton in 1975. His third, The Media and the Law, was published by Praeger Special Studies in 1976 and was co-authored and co-edited with Howard Simons, Managing Editor of The Washington Post. His fourth, The Media and Business, was published by Random House in 1978 and was also in collaboration with Mr. Simons.

In May 1981, Simon and Schuster published Mr. Califano's fifth book, Governing America, about his years as Secretary of HEW. In June, 1982, Warner Books published his sixth, The 1982 Report on Drug Abuse and Alcoholism. Mr. Califano's seventh book, America's Health Care Revolution: Who Lives? Who Dies? Who Pays?, was published by Random House in 1986. His eighth book, The Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson: The White House Years, a memoir, was published by Simon and Schuster in 1991 and republished by Texas A & M University Press in 2000. His ninth book, Radical Surgery: What's Next for America's Health Care, was published by Random House in January, 1995.

Mr. Califano has also written articles for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Readers Digest, New Republic, Journal of the American Medical Association, The New England Journal of Medicine, America, The Washington Monthly, and other publications.

He was Founding Chairman of the Board of the Institute for Social and Economic Policy in the Middle East at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Mr. Califano is a director of CBS Corporation and Willis Group Holdings, Ltd. He is a Trustee of New York Presbyterian Hospital, The Century Foundation, The Urban Institute, The American Ditchley Foundation, The LBJ Foundation and the National Health Museum; Trustee Emeritus of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and a member of the advisory council of the American Foundation for AIDS Research and the Council on Foreign Relations.

In 1982 and 1983, Mr. Califano served as Special Counsel to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, to head the investigation of allegations of drug use and sexual misconduct involving Members of Congress and pages.

Mr. Califano is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States and is a member of the Bars of the District of Columbia and the State of New York.

Mr. Califano has received honorary degrees from numerous colleges and universities, including the Universities of Notre Dame, Michigan, Howard and Seton Hall, State University of New York, The College of the Holy Cross, College of New Rochelle, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine of The City University of New York, City College of New York, Davis and Elkins College, and Union College.

Mr. Califano is married to the former Hilary Paley Byers. They have five children: Mark, Joseph III and Claudia Califano, and Brooke Byers and John F. Byers IV, and eight grandchildren: Joseph Anthony IV, Peter Anderson, Brian Phillip, Russell Paley, Olivia Rose, Evan Frederic, Nicholas James and Grace Frances.

Entries by Joseph A. Califano Jr.

It's About the Kids

(21) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 2:05 PM

Co-authored by Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services from 1989 to1993 and President Emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently released its 2014 Monitoring the Future survey. For the first time, electronic cigarette use was included in the survey. What...

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What the 2012 Election Is Really All About

(3) Comments | Posted October 1, 2012 | 4:38 PM

More than any other candidate or issue, the election of 2012 is all about the extraordinary legacy of America's most overlooked, complicated, liberal and legislatively productive president, Lyndon B. Johnson and his Great Society.

Barack Obama is the first African American to occupy the highest office in the land. Can...

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The Dangerous Joker in the Presidential Political Deck

(17) Comments | Posted April 23, 2012 | 7:18 PM

If, as now seems clear, the nation is headed for a close, razor-thin presidential election, it is not (as most pundits say) jobs and the economy, or (as many pundits think but don't say) race or religion, that will decide the outcome.

Rather, the deciding factor is far likelier to...

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Increase in Youth Smoking: The Surgeon General's Pink Panther Public Health Policy

(1) Comments | Posted March 21, 2012 | 12:59 PM

In the recent report, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, the Surgeon General sounds more like Inspector Jacques Clouseau in The Pink Panther than the nation's top health officer. After demonstrating beyond a reasonable doubt that menthol flavoring is the key culprit in getting children and...

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How to Permanently Reduce State Medicaid and Prison Costs Instead of Postponing and Papering Over Them

(9) Comments | Posted February 4, 2011 | 10:33 AM

There are two fiscal gluttons gobbling taxpayer dollars, threatening to starve other public needs like education, and creating budget crises for at least 46 states: Medicaid and prisons.

And there is one common tapeworm that spawns this ravenous appetite for state funds: substance abuse and addiction.

New York, California, Illinois...

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Marijuana's Role in the Arizona Shooting

(184) Comments | Posted January 21, 2011 | 7:47 AM

With President Barack Obama's eloquent speech at the Tucson memorial, Speaker John Boehner's emotional reminder to his Democratic and Republican colleagues and all Americans that "an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us," and the thousands of pundits, left and right, arguing about the meaning...

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Obama's Opportunity

(2) Comments | Posted January 19, 2011 | 11:48 AM

With the tragedy in Tucson, President Barack Obama has the best opportunity of any president to get significant gun control legislation since Lyndon Johnson pushed through a gun control bill in 1968 in the wake of the Robert Kennedy assassination. But he has to act aggressively and fast.


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Where's the Superman to Tackle Drug and Alcohol Abuse in our Schools and Colleges?

(4) Comments | Posted October 26, 2010 | 1:55 AM

If we are serious about educating our children at every level from elementary school through college, we'd better recognize that money alone will not solve the problem. We can fill our schools with all the modern gadgetry -- computers, great graphics, television screens in every classroom, internet tutoring -- and...

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Why the Great Recession is Not Another Great Depression

(67) Comments | Posted October 15, 2010 | 9:58 AM

What's keeping this Great Recession from becoming another Great Depression?

The Great Society.

That's something for those who support - or question - the role of government in bolstering our economy and protecting our people and our democracy should keep in mind.

True, things aren't great. We have seen...

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With Drug Abuse Up: "We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us"

(82) Comments | Posted September 17, 2010 | 3:31 PM

The shocking increase in all drug use by Americans age 12 and older reported by the government today threatens the health and safety of every child and family in this nation.

Now is not the time to point fingers. Now is the time for all of us to...

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Requiring Parents to Send Children to Gang- and Drug-Infected Schools Is State Sanctioned Child Abuse

(3) Comments | Posted August 30, 2010 | 1:18 PM

Parents of tweens and teens: CASA's 15th Annual Back-to-School Survey indicates that the odds are increasing that the middle or high school your children are going to is drug infected (a place where drugs are used, kept or sold), especially if it is a public school.

Are you going to...

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The Greatest Failure of the Medical and Public Health Professions

(0) Comments | Posted July 20, 2010 | 11:01 AM

The greatest and most costly failure of the medical profession and public health community is their failure to explain to the American people that addiction to alcohol and other drugs is a disease.

Against the scientific knowledge we now have, physicians' refusal to give alcohol- and other drug-addicted patients the...

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Medical Marijuana in the New York State Legislature: Sheep's Clothing for the Wolf of Legalization

(42) Comments | Posted June 24, 2010 | 6:05 PM

Let's hear it for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for calling the "medical marijuana" bill before the state legislature a quintessential example of political hypocrisy. Bloomberg is one of those extraordinary politicians that call actions as he sees them. And he sees this one clearly.

The United States has...

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The Tobacco Leopard

(1) Comments | Posted June 22, 2010 | 12:54 PM

We are both veterans of the tobacco wars and so are not surprised at the industry's recent attempt to block New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's effort to remind citizens of the grim dangers of smoking by requiring stores that sell tobacco products to post graphic posters of the consequences...

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