President Biden nominates Indian American doctor Rahul Gupta



US President Joe Biden has nominated an Indian American who was a former Health Commissioner of West Virginia to play a key role in his administration.

Dr. Rahul Gupta was nominated on July 13 as the next Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a position referred to as “drug czar” – a term coined by Biden.

He previously served under two Governors as the Health Commissioner of West Virginia, and he has been a practicing primary care physician for 25 years.

“President Biden’s nomination of Dr. Rahul Gupta to be the first physician ever to lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is another historic step in the administration’s efforts to turn the tide of our nation’s addiction and overdose epidemic,” the White House said in a statement to The Washington Post, which first reported the move on Tuesday, July 15.

As the state’s Chief Health Officer, Dr. Gupta led the opioid crisis response efforts and launched a number of pioneering public health initiatives, including the Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Birthscore program to identify high-risk infants.

Dr. Gupta also led the development of the state’s Zika action plan and its preparedness efforts during the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak.

A national and global thought leader and a driver of innovative public policies on health issues, Gupta serves as an advisor to several organizations and task forces on local, national and international public health policy.

The son of an Indian diplomat, Dr. Gupta was born in India and grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC.

At age 21, he completed medical school at the University of Delhi. He earned a master’s degree in public health from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and a global master’s of business administration degree from the London School of Business and Finance.

Gupta will join a growing pantheon of Indian-Americans in the Biden administration that includes vice-president Kamala Harris, surgeon general Vivek Murthy, director of the office of personnel Kiran Ahuja, head of Biden’s team of speechwriters Vinay Reddy, associate attorney general Vanita Gupta, and senior adviser Neera Tanden.