Story at a glance

  • Biden’s coronavirus task force comprises physicians, infectious disease and public health experts.
  • He has said they will listen to science and experts.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have released the names of the experts that will advise their administration about the coronavirus pandemic.

“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,” Biden said in a statement. The task force is filled with diverse experts in health care, policy and management.

The task force will be co-chaired by Vivek H. Murthy, who previously served as surgeon general in the Obama administration, David Kessler, who was Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and Marcella Nunez-Smith, who is the associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine, according to the statement.

As surgeon general, Murthy focused on the issues of addiction, the opioid crisis, e-cigarette use among the youth, creating walkable communities and vaccine education. Kessler served as dean of Yale Medical School after his stint at the FDA, and Nunez-Smith’s work focuses on “promoting health and health care equity for structurally marginalized populations with an emphasis on supporting health care workforce diversity and development, developing patient reported measurements of health care quality, and identifying regional strategies to reduce the global burden of non-communicable diseases.”

Other advisory members of the task force are:

Luciana Borio is a physician and Vice President of Technical Staff at In-Q-Tel, a venture capital and private equity firm focused on the U.S. intelligence community. She is also a senior fellow for global health at Council on Foreign Relations, an independent nonprofit think tank for U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. Borio is also a former assistant FDA commissioner.

Rick Bright is a physician and was demoted by the Trump administration for being a whistleblower "on a politicized coronavirus response." He resigned earlier in October from his government position at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Ezekiel Emanuel, who is chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, has a background in oncology and is a columnist for the New York Times. He got his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and his doctorate in political philosophy from Harvard University.


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Atul Gawande is a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a professor of health policy and management at Harvard Medical School. He’s also the CEO of Haven, a health care venture, and founder of Ariadne Labs, a center for health systems innovation. Gawande’s research ranges from performance and safety in operation rooms to studies of medical malpractice.

Eric Goosby was the global AIDS coordinator under President Barack Obama and currently is a professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine. Much of his research focuses on infectious diseases like HIV, ebola and tuberculosis, as well as related issues like development, universal health coverage and social and economic burden of diseases.

Celine R. Gounder is a clinical assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine. She is an HIV and infectious diseases specialist and epidemiologist. Gounder hosts and produces a podcast called American Diagnosis, formerly known as In Sickness and In Health.

Julie Morita is the executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic organization focused on health issues. Before joining the foundation, Morita served as a physician then chief medical officer then commissioner for the Chicago Department of Public Health.


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Michael T. Osterholm is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota. He authored the book “Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs,” about the fight against infectious diseases, published in 2017. In the early 2000s, he served as an adviser to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson on bioterrorism and public health preparedness.

Loyce Pace is president and executive director of the Global Health Council, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to global health issues. Pace has worked on the ground in more than 15 countries to provide health services and mobilize advocates, according to the organization’s website. She studied human biology at Stanford university and has a masters in public health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

For up-to-date information about COVID-19, check the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. For updated global case counts, check this page maintained by Johns Hopkins University or the COVID Tracking Project.

You can follow Chia-Yi Hou on Twitter.


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Published on Nov 09, 2020