President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board

Autumn Page, Staff Reporter

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have appointed members to their COVID-19 Advisory Board. 

The board has one purpose, according to the Biden-Harris Transition website.

“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. “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.”

The website continues to explain that The COVID-19 Advisory Board will help guide the Biden-Harris Transition in planning for the President-elect’s robust federal response. 

“These leading scientists and public health experts will consult with state and local officials to determine the public health and economic steps necessary to get the virus under control, to deliver immediate relief to working families, to address ongoing racial and ethnic disparities and to reopen our schools and businesses safely and effectively,” it said.

The board has a mix of doctors, public health officials, current and former government officials as its co-chairs, advisors and members.

Variety! We love to see it!

The Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board is led by co-chairs Dr. David Kessler, Dr. Vivek Murthy and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, according to the Biden-Harris Transition.

David A. Kessler is a professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UCSF and served as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner from 1990 to 1997. He served President George H.W. Bush and was reappointed by President Bill Clinton.

Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States from 2014 to 2017.  He commanded 6,600 public health officers all over the globe — their job focused on helping underserved populations, protecting the nation from Ebola and Zika, responding to the Flint water crisis and natural disasters such as hurricanes.

Marcella Nunez-Smith is an associate professor of Internal Medicine, Public Health, and Management at Yale University and the associate dean for Health Equity Research at the Yale School of Medicine.

Her research focuses on promoting health and healthcare equity for structurally marginalized populations.

My favorite thing about this board is that it’s already diverse and there are women in places of power.  The mix of backgrounds can provide multiple options for how to go about a single problem that the board might encounter. 

Those aren’t the only members, though. 

Dr. Beth Cameron and Dr. Rebecca Katz are serving as advisors to the transition on COVID-19 and will work closely with the advisory board.

Dr. Rebecca Katz is professor and director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University Medical Center. Dr. Beth Cameron is the former director of a White House biodefense council that Trump has been criticized for closing in 2017

Also on the advisory board are well-known medical figures, including Obamacare architect Dr. Zeke Emanuel, bestselling author Dr. Atul Gawande and Trump administration whistleblower Rick Bright, who led the government’s production and purchase of vaccines.

The Biden-Harris Transition describes the board as one “made up of a diverse and experienced group of doctors and scientists. Members of the Advisory Board have served in previous administrations and have experience engaging with and leading our country’s response to nationwide and worldwide public health crises.”

I’m really impressed with the people that are a part of this team, and I think it’ll be a good tool to help reduce the number of COVID-19 cases.