Indian-American White House Covid response coordinator to step down


Indian-American physician Dr. Ashish Jha who led the US government’s Covid-19 pandemic response and recovery efforts will leave the administration by the end of this month, a statement by President Joe Biden said.

Jha, 52, will return to his previous post as dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University after spending 14 months as the White House Covid-19 Coordinator beginning in March 2022.

“For the last year, I have relied on Dr. Ashish Jha to help me do just that as the White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator. As one of the leading public health experts in America, he has effectively translated and communicated complex scientific challenges into concrete actions that helped save and improve the lives of millions of Americans,” President Biden said in a statement.

“I extend my deepest thanks to Ashish and his family. We are a stronger and healthier nation because of his contributions to public service,” Biden added.

Jha’s departure comes after the Biden administration ended the Covid-19 public health emergency on May 11.

Jha will resume his leadership at Brown beginning July 1 with a focus on transforming public health education, research and practice.

He said his return offers an opportunity to employ insights from the nation’s pandemic response as educators across the school focus on training the next generation of public health leaders.

“We are in a world drastically altered by the Covid-19 pandemic. For all we have accomplished to reduce illness and save lives, Covid-19 has exposed the weaknesses in our public health and healthcare systems,” Jha said in a University statement.

“I look forward to returning to Brown to continue our groundbreaking work transforming public health education, research and practice to convert these weaknesses to strengths.”

In his first 18 months as dean, Jha introduced a series of high-impact initiatives, championing an expansive portfolio of research and education priorities, and recruiting world-class faculty with expertise in global health, information disorders, health policy reform, and pandemic preparedness and response.

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