Coronavirus task force

Medical Professionals With New England Ties Named to Biden's COVID Task Force

Local doctors are among the more than a dozen medical experts named to the coronavirus response team Monday

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Medical professionals with ties to New England are among those who were named to President-elect Joe Biden's COVID-19 Task Force Monday.

Biden named a former surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, and a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, David Kessler and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith associate dean for health equity research at Yale School of Medicine, as co-chairs of a coronavirus working group set to get started.

Murthy has worked at Brigham and Women's as well as Harvard Medical School.

In a speech over the weekend, the president-elect identified tackling the pandemic -- by developing a national strategy to beat the virus -- as a top priority.

Local doctors are among the more than a dozen medical experts that were named to the response team Monday, including Dr. Atul Gawande, a professor of surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dr. Robert Rodriguez, a graduate of Harvard University.

On Twitter, Gawande said he was grateful to serve on the task force.

President-elect Joe Biden's named his COVID-19 Task Force Monday and among those on the list were medical professionals with ties to New England.

A colleague of Gawande said he will be a "great addition" to the task force.

"Dr. Gawande is a great addition because as you know he's been an architect of change within our healthcare delivery in this country and his addition is going to really help us understand how we navigate… how this pandemic plays out within the milieu of our healthcare system," said colleague Dr. Nahid Bhadelia.

The Brigham and Women's doctor also noted the difference between the new advisory board and the makeup of the Trump Administration's task force.

"All of them are either public health experts, scientists or medical professionals and that's a stark difference from what we've seen in the past and they're bringing in very different perspectives," Bhadelia said.

To date, more than 10 million people have been infected with coronavirus in the United States. A rise in case numbers can be seen in states throughout the country and has prompted Massachusetts to reinstate strict coronavirus restrictions.

In a statement, Brigham and Women's said they "filled with pride" that three of the experts on the new task force have Brigham connections.

"Dr. Murthy, the nation’s 19th surgeon general during President Barack Obama's administration, is a former hospitalist at the Brigham while Dr. Nunez-Smith, a professor and associate dean at Yale, completed her residency training here. Dr. Gawande, a surgeon at the Brigham, has dedicated his career to improving health care delivery systems for the benefit of patients everywhere. We're grateful for the service of the diverse team of medical and scientific leaders that the President-elect has called upon to guide our nation's ongoing response to COVID-19, and we remain optimistic that their collective wisdom and expertise will accelerate progress towards controlling the pandemic in our country."

The Biden-Harris administration has said that their COVID-19 action plan will go into effect January 20, 2021.

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