Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., and former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler, M.D., will be among the public health leaders guiding the transition team for President-elect Joe Biden regarding COVID-19.
Murthy and Kessler, as well as Marcella Nunez-Smith, M.D., who is associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine, will co-chair a lineup of familiar and high-profile public health experts in offering guidance on the COVID-19 response, Biden's transition team announced Monday.
“The advisory board will help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective, and distributed efficiently, equitably, and free; and protecting at-risk populations," Biden said in a statement.
The team also includes:
- Rick Bright, M.D.: Bright, an immunologist and virologist, was the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority from 2016 to 2020 and the deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Bright was ousted earlier this year and said he was pushed out after he raised concerns about the safety of projected vaccine development timelines.
- Luciana Borio, M.D.: Borio is a former director of the FDA's Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats and the former assistant commissioner for counterterrorism policy and acting chief scientist at the FDA. She has previously been involved in the response to such threats as the spread of Ebola several years ago. Borio is the vice president of technical staff at In-Q-Tel and a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.
- Ezekiel Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D.: Emanuel is an oncologist, vice provost for global initiatives and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. He served as special adviser for health policy to the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget from January 2009 to January 2011 and was an architect of the Affordable Care Act. Emanuel has said he doesn't necessarily think front-line healthcare workers should be first in line for COVID-19 vaccines, but instead said the immunizations should be prioritized to those most likely to spread the illness, and he has raised questions about the ability to use "immunity passports" in the absence of enough science.
- Celine Gounder, M.D.: Grounder is a clinical assistant professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and a physician at Bellevue Hospital Center. She is the former director for delivery for the Gates Foundation-funded Consortium to Respond Effectively to the AIDS/TB Epidemic and later served as assistant commissioner and director of the Bureau of Tuberculosis Control at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, officials said.
- Atul Gawande, M.D.: A professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and professor of Health Policy and Management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Gawande also is a high-profile writer for The New Yorker. In 2018, he was named to head up a healthcare company called Haven created by Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway but stepped down from the role in May. He is the founder and chair of Ariadne Labs, a joint center between Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health for health systems innovation, and of Lifebox, a nonprofit organization making surgery safer globally. He previously served as a senior adviser in HHS during the Clinton administration.
- Julie Morita, M.D.: Morita is the executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and previously served as the health commissioner for the city of Chicago, officials said.
- Michael Osterholm, Ph.D.: Osterholm is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and previously served as a science envoy for health security on behalf of the U.S. State Department, officials said. He served as state epidemiologist for the Minnesota Department of Health for 15 years.
- Loyce Pace: Pace is the executive director and president of Global Health Council and previously served in leadership positions at the LIVESTRONG Foundation and the American Cancer Society, officials said.
- Robert Rodriguez, M.D.: Rodriguez is a professor of emergency medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine and authored more than 100 scientific publications, including researching the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of frontline providers. In July 2020, Rodriguez volunteered to help with a critical surge of COVID-19 patients in the ICU in Brownsville, Texas, officials said.
- Eric Goosby, M.D.: Goosby is the former U.S. global AIDS coordinator, the former interim director of the White House’s Office of National AIDS Policy and was the founding director of the Ryan White CARE Act. He was also previously appointed by the United Nations secretary-general as the special envoy for TB, officials said. The infectious disease expert is a professor of medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine.