As the US strengthens its response to pandemic through vaccination, for the newly elected Biden administration healthcare and deciding fate of affordable healthcare remains in the focus. The president has already given some idea, from his campaign days to the first month in the office on what to expect on the health policy front. At the same time work to select the chiefs to lead the healthcare domain.
Let’s take a look at who’s who
- HHS SECRETARY – XAVIER BECERRA
The Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) takes the lead in the execution of the president’s healthcare strategy. The president has set his eyes on California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra for the same position.
One of the chief architects behind the Addodabel Care Act’s defense in the ongoing Supreme Court case, Becerra is known for his actions challenging major hospital mergers and acquisitions.
- CMS ADMINISTRATOR – CHIQUITA BROOKS-LASURE
Seen as the frontrunner for the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is a formal policy official which helped in guiding the Affordable Care Act from the passage. Presently, Brooks LaSure works for the multidisciplinary, integrated national professional services firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP as managing director.
A seasoned health policy expert, she has also served as deputy director for policy at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight within CMS and as director of coverage policy at HHS.
- FDA COMMISSIONER – JANET WOODCOCK OR JOSHUA SHARFSTEIN
There are many contenders for Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but current Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD, or former FDA Deputy Chief Joshua Sharfstein, MD, has been seen as frontrunner.
Worked has within the FDA has for four decades working in various capacity. He was Director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). Her resume also includes leading FDA’s drug initiatives, including the Pharmaceutical Quality for the 21st Century Initiative, Critical Path Initiative, Safety First and Safe Use initiatives, and most recently, Operation Warp Speed.
- ONC – MICKY TRIPATHI
Micky Tripathi, PhD, a decorated health IT professional with about 20 years of experience, has been chosen as the new national coordinator for health IT(led by National Coordinator for Health-ONC) by the Biden administration.
Tripathi served as the chief alliance officer at Arcadia, a healthcare analytics and software solutions company, president and CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative (MAeHC), a non-profit health IT advisory and clinical data analytics company and manager of Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a strategy and management consulting firm.
- CDC DIRECTOR – ROCHELLE WALENSKY
Another Biden’s hand-picked is Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH for the administration’s health care team. Biden roped in Walensky to become the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just as the country finished the deadliest month of the pandemic yet. Walensky was chief of the division of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital from 2017 to 2020 and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School from 2012 through 2020.
- NIH DIRECTOR – FRANCIS COLLINS
Continuing his third stint, Physician Francis Collins is staying on as the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under the Biden administration. Collins, MD, PhD, is a physician-geneticist who has led the Human Genome Project, according to his official HHS biography. Collins served as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the NIH from 1993 through 2008 where he helped to complete the finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book. Additionally, Collins has operated his own research laboratory and led gene discovery projects addressing several conditions, including cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease, a familial endocrine cancer syndrome, and most recently, genes for type 2 diabetes and the gene that causes Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome.
- SURGEON GENERAL – VIVEK MURTHY
Vivek Murthy, MD, is set to take over as the next Surgeon General. Murthy is the former Surgeon General under the Obama administration and part of the Trump administration. He had previously served as a vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and completed his internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
- COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR – JEFF ZIENTS
This is the new role that covers leading the administration’s COVID-19 Task Force. Biden’s choice is former Obama administration official Jeff Zients for this position. Zients is a business and management consultant who also served as Director of the National Economic Council, Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the Chief Performance Officer, a position created by the Obama administration to enact federal budget and government reform.