President-Elect Biden Rolls Out Health Team, Becerra Nominated HHS Secretary
On Monday, President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris announced their selections to lead their health and human services team, including response efforts to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The following were named to posts in the incoming federal administration:
- Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Biden-Harris Transition pointed to Becerra’s work on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during his time as a member of Congress, as well as his defense of the ACA in the Supreme Court during his time as Attorney General. If confirmed, Becerra would be the first Latino to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.
- Dr. Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General – Vivek Murthy is anticipated to reprise his role as Surgeon General in the incoming administration. Murthy served as Surgeon General during the Obama-Biden Administration and held the rank of Vice Admiral of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Additionally, Murthy has served as the co-chair of the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Advisory Board.
- Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Rochelle Walensky currently serves as the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. Walensky previously conducted extensive research on HIV/AIDS, as well as vaccine delivery and strategies to reach underserved communities.
- Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, COVID-19 Equity Task Force Chair – Nunez-Smith is the founding director of the Yale University Equity Research and Innovation Center and an Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the Yale School of Medicine. Nunez-Smith additionally served as the co-chair of the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Advisory Board.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Adviser on COVID-19 to the President – Anthony Fauci, an expert on infectious diseases and adviser to six U.S. presidents, will serve as the Chief Medical Adviser to President-Elect Biden. The incoming administration anticipates Fauci to play a key role in the continued response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- Jeff Zients, Coordinator of the COVID-19 Response and Counselor to the President – Jeff Zients previously served as the Director of the National Economic Council, Acting Director and Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the inaugural Chief Performance Officer of the United States. Zients successfully led complex national initiatives, including the HealthCare.gov website surge.
During Monday’s announcement, President-Elect Biden outlined a three-point plan to address the COVID-19 pandemic within his Administration’s first 100 days. The Biden-Harris Administration intends to distribute 100 million COVID-19 vaccines, require face coverings where possible (e.g., federal buildings, interstate travel), and reopen most schools with additional funding support from Congress within the Administration’s first 100 days.
An overview of the Biden-Harris health team is available here.