U of M's Dr. Osterholm named to President-elect Biden's COVID-19 advisory board

The University of Minnesota’s top infectious disease doctor has been tapped to advise President-elect Joe Biden on the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The president-elect’s transition team announced his Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board on Monday. The 13-member board includes Dr. Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the U. 

Dr. Osterholm previously served as a Science Envoy for Health Security on behalf of the State Department and is the former state epidemiologist for Minnesota. For decades, he had been warning the public about the very real possibility of a deadly pandemic. 

The board will be led by co-chairs Dr. David Kessler, who served in both the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations as FDA commissioner; Dr. Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general under the Obama administration; and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, an associate professor of internal medicine, public health and management at Yale University. 

The advisory board is expected to come up with a seven-point plan to beat COVID-19, including ramping up testing, securing personal protective equipment supply chains and investing in vaccines. 

"with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts,” Biden said in a statement. “The advisory board will help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective, and distributed efficiently, equitably, and free; and protecting at-risk populations.”