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Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., Secretary-designate of Health and Human Services, has requested the executive committee of the board of the Morehouse School of Medicine to grant him an unpaid leave of absence as a professor of medicine. Such an action by the executive committee would suspend any salary payments by the school to Dr. Sullivan while he served as HHS Secretary.
Morehouse School of Medicine, like most academic institutions, affords its faculty a paid leave of absence based upon years of service. After 13 years of uninterrupted service, Dr. Sullivan had earned, and was granted, a paid sabbatical leave of absence.
Dr. Sullivan made the following statement in connection with his request to the Committee to forego the paid leave: ``President Bush has called on all of those in his Cabinet, and indeed throughout the Federal Government, to set the very highest ethical standards and to avoid even the appearance of potential conflicts of interest. I agree emphatically with the President, that it is crucial to establish the highest ethical tone, and it will be my intention to uphold those same high principles at HHS if I am confirmed as Secretary. Accordingly, I have requested the executive committee of the board of the medical school to grant an unpaid leave of absence during the time I may serve as HHS Secretary. In this way, I intend to preclude even the remotest possibility of any appearance that my actions as Secretary might be influenced due to any outside income. I look forward to many productive years of service at HHS. And I believe that an unpaid leave of absence from Morehouse Medical School will help establish a firm groundwork for such service to begin.''