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U of M's Dr. Osterholm named to President-elect Biden's COVID-19 advisory board

The board has prominent doctors and scientists tasked at guiding Biden's transition to president and planning for the federal response to the virus.
Michael Osterholm

Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, has been named to President-elect Joe Biden's 13-member COVID-19 Advisory Board. 

The president-elect's transition team announced the members of the advisory board on Monday. They'll advise Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' transition on the response to the coronavirus.

The advisory board is made up entirely of doctors and health experts, which signals the president-elect's intent to use science to control the pandemic. This is something he said he'd do throughout the campaign as he criticized President Donald Trump's response.

“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 in a statement. “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 United States is reporting more than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases a day, and it's only expected to get worse as states, including Minnesota, see surging case numbers and hospitalizations. 

Leading the advisory board is former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler, former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith of the Yale University School of Medicine.

Osterholm joins other prominent doctors on the panel (see a list below). The U of M's director of Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy has become recognized nationally since the pandemic began, appearing on national news outlets and hosting his own podcast about the novel coronavirus

The other members of the panel are:

  • Dr. Luciana Borio: VP, Technical Staff at In-Q-Tel and director for medical and biodefense preparedness on Trump’s National Security Council until 2019
  • Dr. Rick Bright: American immunologist, virologist, and former public health official. He's the former head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and after he was demoted he spoke out against the Trump administration's approach to the pandemic, the Washington Post notes
  • Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel: Oncologist and Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. 
  • Dr. Atul Gawande: Cyndy and John Fish Distinguished Professor of Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor at Harvard Medical School.
  • Dr. Celine Gounder: Clinical Assistant Professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
  • Dr. Julie Morita: Executive Vice President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). 
  • Ms. Loyce Pace: Executive Director and President of Global Health Council.
  • Dr. Robert Rodriguez: Professor of emergency medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine.
  • Dr. Eric Goosby: Professor of Medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine and was the global AIDS coordinator under President Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, Dr. Beth Cameron and Dr. Rebecca Katz will serve as advisors and will work closely with the advisory board.

The Biden-Harris transition team says these experts will consult with state and local officials to determine the steps necessary to get the virus under control, deliver immediate relief to families, address ongoing racial and ethnic disparities and reopen schools and businesses safely.

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