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Biden names Black woman co-chair of Coronavirus advisory board

Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith is one of three co-chairs that will guide Biden in COVID-19 response.

Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith Robert A. Lisak

Joe Biden’s COVID-19 task force includes a Black woman. Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith was named co-chair of the COVID-19 Transition Advisory Board that will help the president-elect and his administration combat the Coronavirus.

Nunez-Smith received her BA from Swarthmore College before obtaining an MD from Jefferson Medical College, and earning her MHS from Yale University where most of her career was cultivated. She is currently an associate Professor at the Yale Schools of Medicine and Public Health; deputy director for Health Equity Research and Workforce Development for the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation; and the founding director of the Equity Research and Innovation Center (ERIC) at Yale University. Her work is centered on pushing healthcare workface diversity and promoting “healthcare equity for vulnerable populations,” but most recently includes experience on Connecticut’s COVID-19 science team.

On Monday (Nov. 9), Biden revealed that Nunez-Smith will now serve as one of three co-chairs of his COVID-19 response team alongside University of California at San Francisco’s Dr. David Kessler and former surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy.

“Everyone is affected by this pandemic, yet the burden is disproportionate,” Nunez-Smith said following the news. “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.”

Biden also unveiled other members of the task force, including former White House medical senior advisor Dr. Atul Gawande and former George W. Bush administration epidemiologist Michael Osterholm.

“I have named a COVID-19 Transition Advisory Board — comprised of distinguished public health expert — to help our transition team translate the Biden-Harris COVID-19 plan into a blueprint we can put into place as soon as @KamalaHarris and I are sworn into office,” he wrote. “My COVID-19 Transition Advisory Board will advise on detailed plans built on a bedrock of science and that keep compassion, empathy and care for every American at its core,” he continued, noting he’s dedicated to “turning this pandemic around” despite the “immense and growing” challenge ahead.

“@KamalaHarris and I aren’t wasting any time,” Biden tweeted. “We’re ready to get COVID-19 under control so that we can reopen our businesses and schools safely, resume our lives, and put this pandemic behind us.”

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