President-elect Joe Biden announced key nominations and appointments of his health team.
The picks include Xavier Becerra as secretary of Health and Human Services; Vivek Murthy as surgeon general; Rochelle Walensky as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Marcella Nunez-Smith as COVID-19 Equity Task Force chair. Dr. Anthony Fauci, currently chief medical adviser to the president on COVID-19, will continue in his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Biden said. The president-elect also named Jeff Zients his COVID-19 response coordinator and counselor for the president, assisted by Natalie Quillian, a former White House and Pentagon advisor who will serve as deputy coordinator of the COVID-19 response.
“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, 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.”
This diverse and experienced slate of nominations and appointments includes some of the nation’s most accomplished problem-solving leaders in crisis management and public health.
"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,” vice presiden-elect Kamala Harris said. “President-elect Biden and I 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.”
Commenting on Biden's choice of Becerra as HHS secretary, the Association for Accessible Medicines said, "AAM and its members look forward to working with Becerra to secure patient access to safe, effective and affordable generic and biosimilar medicines. The sustainability of the generic and biosimilars industry is at risk from anti-competitive practices and market access challenges, and we will work with Secretary-designate Becerra to advance policies that enhance the competitiveness of these medicines that bring outsized value to our nation by saving lives and containing costs during this public health crisis and beyond."
National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson said, “NACDS warmly and enthusiastically congratulates the Honorable Xavier Becerra on his selection as Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Rochelle Walensky on her selection as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“They and the other healthcare team members who have been announced by President-elect Biden have prepared throughout their entire careers for this moment, to apply their expertise and leadership to the needs of our nation, of our communities, and of all Americans at this critical time. In the NACDS membership, Xavier Becerra and Dr. Rochelle Walensky will find dedicated, trusted and accessible professionals whose focus will remain on defeating the COVID-19 pandemic, and on meeting the daily health and wellness needs of all.”