Biden-Harris transition names health team to contain covid-19 pandemic, expand health care.
Indian American physician Dr. Vivek Murthy returns to his role as surgeon general as President-elect Joe Biden Monday officially unveiled his health team focused on containing the coronavirus pandemic which has killed over 280,000 Americans.
Murthy, a distinguished physician and research scientist, was previously confirmed by the Senate to serve in the same capacity, holding the post as ‘America’s Doctor’ between 2014 and 2017, a Biden-Harris transition announcement noted.
“A trusted national voice on health issues and a long-time advisor to President-elect Biden, he currently serves as co-chair of the President-elect’s covid-19 transition Advisory Board,” it said.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was named as secretary of Health and Human Services while Dr. Rochelle Walensky was picked as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Becerra and Murthy will each need to be confirmed by the Senate.
In a tweet, Murthy said Monday morning that he’s grateful for the opportunity to help end the covid pandemic. He wrote: “I never dreamed I’d have the honor to once again serve as Surgeon General. In this moment of crisis, I’m grateful for the opportunity to help end this pandemic, be a voice for science, and support our nation on its path to rebuilding and healing.”
I never dreamed I’d have the honor to once again serve as Surgeon General. In this moment of crisis, I’m grateful for the opportunity to help end this pandemic, be a voice for science, and support our nation on its path to rebuilding and healing. pic.twitter.com/0litXnsIJ7
— Vivek Murthy (@vivek_murthy) December 7, 2020
READ: Vivek Murthy named co-chair of Biden covid-19 advisory board (November 9, 2020)
Biden and Vice-President elect Kamala Harris also announced that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, will remain as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“This is a team that looks like America and brings together leaders with deep experience in public health, government, and crisis management,” a Biden-Harris transition announcement said.
“Together, they will advise President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on implementing a whole-of-government response to surge testing and tracing to slow the spread of the virus, protect frontline workers, and ensure the safe and efficient delivery of treatments and vaccines at no cost to the American people.”
“And, they will help fulfill the President-elect’s vision of making health care a right — not a privilege — for all Americans, building on the Affordable Care Act to lower health care costs and tackle prescription drug costs,” it said.
“This trusted and accomplished team of leaders will bring the highest level of integrity, scientific rigor, and crisis-management experience to one of the toughest challenges America has ever faced — getting the pandemic under control so that the American people can get back to work, back to their lives, and back to their loved ones,” Biden said.
“This team of world-class medical experts and public servants will be ready on day one to mobilize every resource of the federal government to expand testing and masking, oversee the safe, equitable, and free distribution of treatments and vaccines,” he said.
It would also help “re-open schools and businesses safely, lower prescription drug and other health costs and expand affordable health care to all Americans, and rally the country and restore the belief that there is nothing beyond America’s capacity if we do it together,” Biden added.
“Containing this coronavirus pandemic and opening our economy responsibly require listening to experts and leaders like the ones we are bringing together on this health care team,” Harris said.
“They are some of America’s top physicians, public health experts, and crisis-tested public servants, and they reflect the very best of our nation,” she said.
“This is the team that the American people need and deserve to make quality, affordable health care available to all and to help make sure safe and effective vaccines — as well as testing and treatment — are free and equitably distributed,” Harris said.
The Indian American leader said Biden and she “will work closely with this team to marshal the full resources and capabilities of the United States of America to save lives, contain this pandemic, and build better preparedness for future pandemics and other health threats.”
As “America’s Doctor,” Dr. Murthy helped lead the national response to a range of health challenges, including the Ebola and Zika viruses, the opioid crisis, and the growing threat of stress and loneliness to Americans’ physical and mental wellbeing, according to his official bio.Covid
Prior to his tenure as Surgeon General, Dr. Murthy co-founded VISIONS, a global HIV/AIDS education organization; the Swasthya Project, a rural health partnership that trained women in South India to become community health workers and educators; TrialNetworks, a technology company dedicated to improving collaboration and efficiency in clinical trials; and Doctors for America, a nonprofit mobilizing physicians and medical students to improve access to affordable care.
His scientific research has focused on vaccine development and the participation of women and minorities in clinical trials.
Raised in Miami, Dr. Murthy received his bachelor of arts degree from Harvard, his masters in business administration from the Yale School of Management, and his MD from the Yale School of Medicine.
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Dr. Vivek Murthy could become Surgeon General of the US on December 11 (December 9, 2014)
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