FARMINGTON — Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim has been elected chair of the Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to a press release from the Navajo Nation Washington Office.

The committee's primary purpose is to seek consensus, exchange views, share information and provide advice or recommendations related to intergovernmental responsibilities or administration of Department of Health and Human Services' programs.

It is comprised of one representative from each of the 12 areas of the Indian Health Service.

Members convened this week in Washington, D.C., and held a final meeting with outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who thanked tribal leaders for providing input on the department's programs and organizations and for assisting her and her staff with getting acquainted with the issues and needs Native Americans face.

Sebelius said she will meet with her successor, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, to discuss the importance of the committee's effort.

Burwell was confirmed as secretary on Thursday by the Senate.