Who are the members of President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force?

Presidential Transition

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris listen during a meeting with Biden’s COVID-19 advisory council, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President-elect Joe Biden on Monday unveiled a new advisory board tasked with outlining a coronavirus pandemic response plan for his administration.

Biden’s new coronavirus task force, named the Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board, will advise the president-elect, vice president-elect and their transition team on infections, vaccine distribution and how to protect at-risk populations.

The team will be led by three co-chairs: former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler, and public health expert Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith of Yale University.

Another notable member of the group is Rick Bright, a whistleblower who was demoted after criticizing the Trump administration’s pandemic response. Bright had been head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

Here’s a full list of the members and their backgrounds:


Dr. David Kessler: A professor of pediatrics and epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California-San Francisco. Kessler served as commissioner of the FDA from 1990 to 1997. He was appointed by President George H.W. Bush and reappointed by President Bill Clinton.

In this Feb. 4, 2014, photo, then U.S. Surgeon General appointee Dr. Vivek Murthy appears in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Dr. Vivek Murthy: Murthy served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States from 2014 to 2017. 

He also was responsible for 6,600 public health officers across the globe as the vice admiral of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

According to Biden’s transition team, “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.”

Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith: An associate professor of internal medicine, public health and management at Yale University. Nunez-Smith also serves as the associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine. Her research focuses on promoting health care equity for marginalized populations.


Dr. Luciana Borio: Borio is vice president of technical staff at In-Q-Tel. She’s also a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. Dr. Borio specializes in biodefense, emerging infectious diseases, medical product development, and complex public health emergencies. She has served in senior leadership positions at the FDA and National Security Council.

In this image provided by Public Health Emergency, a department of Health and Human Services, Rick Bright is shown in his official photo on April 27, 2017, in Washington. (Health and Human Services via AP)

Dr. Rick Bright: Bright is an immunologist and virologist. He was also ousted as the head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority after criticizing the federal government’s response to the coronavirus under President Donald Trump. Bright filed a whistleblower complaint alleging he was reassigned to a lesser job because he resisted political pressure to allow widespread use of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug Trump pushed as a COVID-19 treatment. He also previously served as an adviser to the World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of Defense. His expertise covers vaccine development, drugs and diagnostics to address emerging infectious diseases and national security threats, according to Biden’s transition team.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel: Emanuel is an oncologist and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1997, Emanuel has served as chair of the Department of Bioethics at The Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Atul Gawande: Gawande is a professor of surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and at Harvard Medical School. He served as a senior adviser in the Department of Health and Human Services in the Clinton administration.

Dr. Celine Gounder: Gounder is a clinical assistant professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Gounder also treats patients at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City. Gounder served as assistant commissioner and director of the Bureau of Tuberculosis Control at the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Dr. Julie Morita: Morita is the executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Morita previously served as Chicago’s health commissioner for nearly 20 years. Morita is also a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and has served on many state, local and national health committees.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden takes sit down to a virtual meeting with members of the coronavirus disease “Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board” in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 9, 2020. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Dr. Michael Osterholm: Osterholm is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. He’s also worked as the former science envoy for health security for the State Department.

Ms. Loyce Pace: Pace is the executive director and president of the Global Health Council, who previously served in leadership positions at the American Cancer Society. According to Biden’s transition team, Pace “as championed policies for access to essential medicines and health services worldwide.”

Dr. Robert Rodriguez: Rodriguez is a professor of emergency medicine at the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine, where he works in the emergency department and ICU of two major trauma centers. He has led national research teams examining a range of topics, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on front line workers’ mental health.

Dr. Eric Goosby: Goosby is an infectious disease expert and professor of medicine at the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine. During the Clinton administration, Goosby served as the founding director of the Ryan White CARE Act, the largest federally funded HIV/AIDS program.

For more information, the Biden-Harris transition team has posted full bios on their website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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