President-Elect Biden’s Health Team Shows Administration’s Climate Ambition
Washington, D.C. — Today, President-elect Joe Biden announced his administration’s chief health care advisors, a team anchored by Secretary of Health and Human Services nominee Xavier Becerra, a climate champion and advocate who emerged as a prolific antagonist to the Trump administration’s most dangerous health and environmental rollbacks.
Combined with previously tapped economic and national security advisors, today’s announcement underscores Biden’s intention to govern as a climate president who puts science and experts in charge of crafting policy.
Becerra’s nomination as Secretary of Health — along with Dr. Anthony Fauci as Chief Medical Adviser to the President on COVID-19 and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Vivek Murthy as Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Rochelle Walensky as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with additional pro-science advocates — builds on Biden’s government-wide commitment to tackling the climate crisis and weaving climate action into health and economic agendas.
“This pandemic has exposed how air pollution increases the likelihood of someone getting sick and even dying — underscoring why the Biden administration’s health care agenda must include climate action,” said Lori Lodes, executive director of Climate Power 2020. “Attorney General Becerra and Biden’s health team understand that cleaning up legacy pollution, stopping corporate polluters from poisoning our air and water, and tackling climate racism will create healthier and more equitable communities. By selecting a team of outspoken climate leaders, Biden is once again committing to governing as a climate president.”
Becerra served as California attorney general for the past three years, where he has spearheaded more than 50 lawsuits against Trump’s environmental rollbacks.
Biden additionally named the following climate advocates to his health leadership team:
- Dr. Vivek Murthy as Surgeon General. He served as the United States General Surgeon from 2014 to 2017. He is a decorated physician, research scientist, and former Vice Admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci as Chief Medical Adviser to the President on COVID-19 and continue in his role as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
- Dr. Rochelle Walensky as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is the Chief of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
- Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith as the COVID-19 Equity Task Force Chair. An Associate Professor of Medicine, Public Health, and Management at the Yale School of Medicine, she is the founding director of Yale’s Equity Research and Innovation Center.
- Jeff Zients as coordinator of the COVID-19 Response Team and Counselor to the President. He previously served as Director of the National Economic Council, Acting Director and Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the inaugural Chief Performance Officer of the United States.
- Natalie Quillian as Deputy National Coordinator of the COVID-19 Response Team. Quillian, a national security expert and former White House and Pentagon senior advisor.