President Joe R. Biden took office at a time when a series of crises have gripped the nation, not least of which is the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic which has changed the face of health care in the U.S.
This has given an increased urgency to staffing the agencies tasked with combatting the pandemic and protecting the U.S. health care system. Here is a look at some of the Biden administration officials already in place:
- Xavier Becerra – nominee for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): The California attorney general has already stood up for the Affordable Care Act defending the law against the current Supreme Court challenge. If he is confirmed, he will be the first Latino to run HHS.
- Norris Cochran – acting HHS secretary: While Becerra awaits confirmation, Cochran, the assistant secretary of budget, will head the department. Cochran previously held the role at the beginning of the Trump administration.
- Liz Richter – acting Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator: The 30-year CMS veteran previously served as deputy director of CMS and various other roles. Biden has yet to name his nominee.
- Janet Woodcock, MD – acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): The longtime head of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Review had been assigned to Operation Warp Speed. She will lead the FDA until a permanent commissioner is confirmed. Biden has yet to name his nominee.
- Micky Trapathi – national coordinator for health IT (ONC): Trapathi is an industry veteran and a pioneer of interoperability.
- Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry administrator: Walensky came to prominence by taking to television to discuss the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
- Francis Collins – director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH): This Obama appointee stuck around during the Trump administration and has been integral in fighting the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.