Biden administration taps HHS lawyer for COVID-19 response team

The White House has chosen Lisa Barclay, a deputy general counsel for HHS, to help Ashish Jha, MD, lead the White House COVID-19 response team, Dr. Jha confirmed April 13 on his Twitter page

"Lisa is brilliant, a great public servant, and has deep experience in our health agencies," he wrote.

Dr. Jha, dean of Brown University's School of Public Health, began his new role as the nation's COVID-19 response coordinator April 5. 

During her tenure at HHS, Ms. Barclay helped negotiate agreements to share vaccines worldwide, according to The Washington Post. She also served as FDA chief of staff during the Obama administration.

In her new role as deputy COVID-19 response coordinator, she will replace Natalie Quillian, who previously led the White House COVID-19 response team with Jeffrey Zients, the Post reported. Mr. Zients and Ms. Quillian both announced they would step down in April.

The announcement of Ms. Barclay's new position comes as Dr. Jha has expressed optimism about where the country is with the pandemic. 

"If you think about where we are as a country, we are at a really good moment," Dr. Jha, who is on leave from his position at Brown, told NPR on April 11. "Infection numbers are relatively low. We have fewer people in the hospital right now than at any point in the pandemic. So, it is really important to start with, where are we? We're in reasonably good shape." 

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