Meet the Biden Transition COVID Advisory Board co-chairs with ties to Connecticut


CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — Three leading public health and scientific experts with ties to Connecticut have been chosen to co-chair President-elect Joe Biden’s Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board.

The Biden transition team announced the formation of the board on Monday.

The group is made up of “a team of leading public health experts who will advise President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris and the transition’s COVID-19 staff. The Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board will be led by co-chairs Dr. David Kessler, Dr. Vivek Murthy, and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith.”

Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith

Dr. Nunez-Smith is an associate professor of internal medicine, public health and management medicine at Yale. She is also the Associate Dean for Health Equity Research at the Yale School of Medicine.

Dr. Nunez-Smith’s research focuses on promoting health and healthcare equity for structurally marginalized populations.

She previously served on Gov. Ned Lamont’s reopen committee and supported CT’s COVID response.

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The appointment of Dr. Nunez-Smith was announced Sunday by Governor Ned Lamont’s Chief of Staff Paul Mounds. He congratulated the appointment saying it “is a testament of her amazing work as a leader in the field of health equity.”

In a statement Monday, Dr. Nunez-Smith said, “Our country is facing an unprecedented time with COVID-19 cases accelerating nationwide. Everyone is affected by this pandemic, yet the burden is disproportionate. We know communities of color are grieving at high rates and are facing substantial economic impact. The transition advisory board is setting a course for everyone in our country to experience recovery. I’m honored to help lead on that work and thank President-elect Joe Biden for the opportunity to serve.”

Dr. David Kessler

Dr. Kessler is a professor of pediatrics and epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California San Francisco.

Dr. Kessler served as FDA Commissioner from 1990 to 1997, appointed by President George H.W. Bush and reappointed by President Bill Clinton. 

Dr. Vivek Murthy

Dr. Murthy served as the Surgeon General of the United States from 2014-2017. He is a graduate of Yale School of Medicine and Yale School of Management.

According to the Biden Transition team, “As the Vice-Admiral of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, he commanded a uniformed service of 6,600 public health officers globally. The officers focused on helping underserved populations, protecting the nation from Ebola and Zika, responding to the Flint water crisis, and natural disasters such as hurricanes.”

“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.”

The Biden Transition team added, “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.”

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