Biden's New COVID Task Force Revealed
Although the results of the election are still being contested, coronavirus cases continue to surge, breaking more than 100,000 cases a day for many days now. Promising to make ending the virus a priority, Biden has already put together a COVID-19 task force meant to work together with the existing Task Force—which includes Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx—to help combat the disease.
"Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts," said President-elect Biden. "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."
Here's a list of who was announced to his panel—a few names you might recognize. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Biden's 13-member task force is chaired by:
Dr. Vivek H. Murthy "served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States from December 15, 2014 to April 21, 2017" who, according to him, "created initiatives to tackle our country's most urgent public health issues. He chose areas of focus that were raised by people across America during his inaugural listening tour. Highlights included…addressing addiction as a chronic illness and not a moral failing….," sending "a letter to 2.3 million health care professionals urging them join a movement to tackle the opioid epidemic"…filing the "first federal report on e-cigarettes, highlighting the health risks of e-cigarette use for youth"…and he "focused his attention on chronic stress and isolation as prevalent problems that have profound implications for health, productivity, and happiness."
Dr. Murthy received his bachelor's degree from Harvard and his M.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Yale.
Rick Bright, the ousted Health and Human Services official, "a whistleblower from the Trump administration who alleged that his early warnings about the pandemic were ignored and ultimately led to his removal," reports CNN. "The inclusion of Bright, who said that he was met with skepticism by Trump administration officials when he raised concerns in the early throes of the pandemic about critical supplies shortages, is a clear signal of the contrasted direction that Biden intends to take his administration when it comes to dealing with the pandemic."
Dr. Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, is, as New Yorker readers may know, "a surgeon, writer, and public health leader. He is a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is the founder and chair of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation, and of Lifebox, a nonprofit organization making surgery safer globally. He is also chairman of Haven, where he was CEO from 2018 to 2020. Atul has also been staff writer for The New Yorker magazine since 1998 and written four New York Times best selling books: Complications, Better, The Checklist Manifesto, and Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End."
Dr. David A. Kessler is a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner. "Dr. Kessler was sworn in on the same day that the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) was signed," reports the FDA. "Early in his tenure, he took action to protect consumers from misleading uses of the term 'fresh' in conjunction with processed or partially processed orange juice and tomato products, gaining himself the nickname 'Elliot Knessler.' Kessler himself later appeared on major news and entertainment shows to unveil the agency's new 'Nutrition Facts' food labels. Designed with bold new graphics, they were intended to make food labels more useful to the consumer and soon became one of the most recognizable graphic formats in the world."
Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith is Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Public Health, and Management, among many other titles, at the Yale School of Medicine. "Dr. Nunez-Smith's research focuses on promoting health and healthcare equity for structurally marginalized populations with an emphasis on supporting healthcare workforce diversity and development, developing patient reported measurements of healthcare quality, and identifying regional strategies to reduce the global burden of non-communicable diseases," says the School.
Dr. Luciana Borio "is an infectious-disease physician and fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies. Her research interests include the medical- and public-health management of viral hemorrhagic fevers (such as Ebola, Marburg and Lassa fever) and the medical management of epidemics following biological weapons attacks. She has authored articles relating to antimicrobial resistance and molecular diagnosis in opportunistic infections," reports WebMD.
Dr. Michael Osterholm "is the author of the New York Times best-selling 2017 book, Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs, in which he not only details the most pressing infectious disease threats of our day but lays out a nine-point strategy on how to address them, with preventing a global flu pandemic at the top of the list," reports the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. "In addition, Dr. Osterholm is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and the Council of Foreign Relations. In June 2005 Dr. Osterholm was appointed by Michael Leavitt, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to the newly established National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity. In July 2008, he was named to the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center's Academy of Excellence in Health Research. In October 2008, he was appointed to the World Economic Forum Working Group on Pandemics."
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel—sometimes known as "Zeke"—"is Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania," according to the school. "From January 2009 to January 2011, he served as special advisor for health policy to the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. Since 1997 he was chair of the Department of Bioethics at The Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health and a breast oncologist. Dr. Emanuel received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and his Ph.D. in political philosophy from Harvard University. After completing his internship and residency in internal medicine at Boston's Beth Israel Hospital and his oncology fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, he joined the faculty at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute."
Dr. Celine Gounder, MD, ScM, FIDSA "is a practicing HIV/infectious diseases specialist and internist, epidemiologist (aka disease detective), journalist and filmmaker," according to NYU Langone Health. "Dr. Gounder is the host and producer of In Sickness and in Health, a podcast on health and social justice. She's written for many news outlets. She's a frequent expert guest on MSNBC, CNN, HLN, Al Jazeera America, CBS, BBC, MTV and Oprah Prime. She's best known for her print and TV coverage of the Ebola, Zika and opioid abuse epidemics."
Dr. Julie Morita "is executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), where she oversees all programming, policy, research and communications activities," according to the Foundation. "As the nation's largest private philanthropy dedicated solely to improving the nation's health, RWJF is focused on building a comprehensive Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. Knowing many factors, such as clean air and water, access to healthy food, safe housing, secure employment, education, and quality health care, contribute to the well-being of our nation, the Foundation concentrates on advancing health equity by eliminating barriers to health, including discrimination."
Loyce Pace, "a leader who has worked on the ground in more than 10 countries delivering health programs and mobilizing advocates, has served as Global Health Council's (GHC) President and Executive Director since December 2016," according to the United Nations Association of the USA. "Loyce comes to the role having held leadership positions in global policy and strategic partnerships at LIVESTRONG Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Additionally, she has worked with Physicians for Human Rights and Catholic Relief Services."
Dr. Robert Rodriguez "specializes in enterprise diversity strategy planning, employee resource group optimization and Latino talent management programs," according to Dr Advisors. "Over 200 corporations have sought his expertise and consultation to develop proactive diversity initiatives that have a positive impact on business results. So many corporations rely on Dr. Rodriguez for insight on their diversity initiatives that Hispanic Business magazine named Robert one of the Top 100 Most Influential Latinos in Corporate America. In 2017, Chicago United selected him as one of their Business Leaders of Color. In 2018, he received the Maestro Award from Latino Leaders magazine for his commitment to community service."
Dr. Eric Goosby "is an internationally recognized expert on infectious diseases who has participated in program and policy development at the highest levels of government," according to the Center for AIDS Research."He was the founding director of the Ryan White CARE Act in 1991 and subsequently served in the Clinton Administration to expand the program considerably. As Global AIDS Coordinator under President Barack Obama, he was responsible for implementing the President's emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). He currently serves as the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Tuberculosis."