Aldona Zofia Wos (born 1955) is a Polish-American physician and politician who has served in various positions at several U.S. government agencies and nonprofit organizations. She was the United States Ambassador to Estonia from 2004 until early December 2006. Wos was the fifth U.S. ambassador to Estonia since that country regained its independence in 1991. From 2013 until 2015, she was head of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. As of May 2017, Wos serves as vice-chairwoman of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships, which is tasked with reviewing candidates for White House fellowships.
Aldona Zofia Wos
|Vice-chairwoman of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships|
|Assumed office |
|North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services|
January 5, 2013 – August 5, 2015
|Succeeded by||Rick Brajer|
|United States Ambassador to Estonia|
August 13, 2004 – December 17, 2006
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Joseph M. DeThomas|
|Succeeded by||Stanley Davis Phillips|
|Born||1955 (age 63–64)|
|Residence||Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.|
Early life and medical careerEdit
Wos is the daughter of Wanda and Paul Zenon Wos. Wos' father was part of the Home Army during the German and Soviet occupation of Poland in World War II and her Catholic family helped twelve Jews escape the Warsaw Ghetto. Wos' grandmother and aunts were imprisoned in Ravensbrück concentration camp, while her father and grandfather, Paul Wos, Sr., were held in Flossenbürg concentration camp They survived to be reunited after the Allied Forces liberated the concentration camps. Aldona Wos was born in 1955 in Warsaw, where she lived until the age of six when her family moved to Long Island, New York.
Wos earned a medical degree from Warsaw Medical Academy, then returned to New York to complete her residency and fellowship with a specialty in lung diseases. Wos practiced medicine in Manhattan for eighteen years. As a physician, Wos worked in the fight against the spread of HIV and AIDS.
In 1997, Wos left her medical practice and moved to Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband Louis DeJoy, who was CEO of New Breed Logistics Inc. from 1983 to 2014. In North Carolina, she and her husband have organized and hosted fundraisers for a number of national and state-level political campaigns, and have been significant contributors to several Republican candidates. Wos raised nearly $1 million for the campaign to elect Elizabeth Dole to the U.S. Senate in the 2002 elections and served as vice chairwoman of George W. Bush's North Carolina fund-raising organization.
In May 2002, Wos was appointed to a seat on the board of directors of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. President George W. Bush re-appointed her to second term on the council beginning in 2004.
In June 2004, President Bush appointed Wos as the U.S. Ambassador to Estonia, for a three-year term. She was sworn-in on August 13, 2004. As ambassador to Estonia, she helped organize the state visit of President Bush to Estonia, which took place on 27th and 28 November 2006. For her efforts in facilitating US cooperation with the Estonian police, she was awarded a special police medal, given to her by Raivo Aeg, the head of the Estonian Police. She left her diplomatic post in December 2006. Wos was succeeded by Stanley Davis Phillips who was sworn in on April 16, 2007.
In March 2007, Polish President Lech Kaczynski awarded Wos the Commander Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
Wos was part of the second campaign to elect Pat McCrory as Governor of North Carolina. In May 2011, she hosted a luncheon for the Women for Pat McCrory in the lead-up to the former Mayor of Charlotte's announcement as a Republican candidate for the 2012 North Carolina gubernatorial election. She later served as co-chairwoman for the campaign and after McCrory's win, she was a part of his transition team. In June 2012, Wos was appointed to the board of governors of the University of North Carolina by the state's Republican-controlled General Assembly.
Secretary of North Carolina Health and Human ServicesEdit
In December 2012, North Carolina Governor-elect Pat McCrory announced that Wos will be a member of his Cabinet as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Wos declined her $128,000 salary and was instead paid a token $1. On January 31, 2013, a performance audit was released, criticizing the previous administration's lack of record keeping concerning various funds, as well as naming other budgetary problems. Wos released her responses to the audit in an appendix, agreeing on all points with the auditor, including the conclusion that DHHS had consistently exceeded budgeted amounts for administrative costs due to lack of oversight by the previous administration.
When speaking to the General Assembly in February 2013, Wos laid out her department priorities as "Medicaid and information technology." In April 2013, Wos announced the governor's plan to overhaul the Medicaid system in North Carolina which she and McCrory criticized as "broken". This early plan would have brought in a few "entities — likely including private companies — to function as insurance companies for Medicaid recipients." These entities would operate state-wide and serve as insurance plans from which Medicaid recipients can choose. The plan faced criticism from healthcare professionals who were concerned that it would permit "out-of-state and for-profit providers to get a major foothold in North Carolina, rather than letting proven in-state and nonprofit providers, such as Community Care of N.C., take the lead". It also suffered a possible setback when the person hired to spearhead this overhaul plan, Carol Steckel, resigned in September 2013 to join the private sector. The state chose not to implement the proposed plans.
In July 2013, DHHS went live with its NCTracks system for managing Medicaid billings, a system contracted in 2008 under the previous administration. By October, the system was facing criticism from health care providers that were concerned that the system was not reimbursing them quickly enough. In January 2014, an error in the system caused the private medical information of almost 49,000 children to be mailed to the wrong addresses. Throughout 2013 and early 2014, DHHS worked to resolve glitches with the NCTracks Medicaid billing system. The department announced that the system was working effectively by July 2014. Wos stated that she was disappointed that the state elected not to move forward with her proposal to reform the state's entire Medicaid program. By 2015, DHHS announced that the glitches in NCTracks were resolved, and Wos had "[convinced] the legislature of the need to invest in the state's medical examiner system."
Wos resigned on August 15, 2015, stating in a press conference that it was "simply time to go home" and spend time with her family. Asked by the press if she would "change any of the decisions that she made over a sometimes rocky tenure," she replied, "not at all." Wos was replaced by Rick Brajer, a former medical technology executive. After being sworn in, Brajer asserted to the press that Wos' resignation was unrelated to the ongoing federal investigation into DHHS. In August 2016, federal officials ended the investigations into employee and consultant contracts "with no finding of criminal wrongdoing".
Although the Wos' tenure as secretary earned criticism for issues such as computer glitches, McCrory praised how she "streamlined" the health care delivery systems. McCrory also praised Wos for the state's $130 million Medicaid budget surplus during her tenure, after years of major budget shortfalls. For her service to the state, McCrory awarded Wos with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
2015 to presentEdit
In 2017 May, President Donald Trump appointed her his vice-chairwoman of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships. The president uses the commission to interview and recommend candidates for White House fellowships.
Wos and her husband DeJoy have twin children, Ania and Andrew. The family lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, in an Irving Park Neighborhood home which has been the location of several notable political fund-raising events.
Wos has been involved in efforts to raise money for a number of non-profit organizations and private schools as well. She served on the board of the United Way of Greater Greensboro, and has been involved with the Family Services of the Piedmont, Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro, and the Triad Stage Theatre. She was also instrumental in raising the finances for the Greensboro Ballet gala, held in February 2011, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ballet company and school once attended by her children. Wos and DeJoy also founded The Louis DeJoy and Aldona Z. Wos Family Foundation which awards several scholarships to students. The foundation also hosts a professional–amateur golf championship as a prelude to the Wyndham Championship.
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- Tomaszewski, Irene; Werbowski, Tecia (2010). Code Name Żegota: Rescuing Jews in Occupied Poland, 1942-1945 : the Most Dangerous Conspiracy in Wartime Europe. ABC-CLIO. pp. 151–155. ISBN 9780313383915.
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Joseph M. DeThomas
| United States Ambassador to Estonia
Stanley Davis Phillips