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Jefferson Alumna Named Co-Chair of Biden’s COVID-19 Advisory Board

“The Transition Advisory Board is setting a course for everyone in our country to experience recovery,” says Jefferson 2001 alumna Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith. “The Transition Advisory Board is setting a course for everyone in our country to experience recovery,” says Jefferson 2001 alumna Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith.

Tasked with guiding the president-elect’s robust federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, Jefferson alumna Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith was tapped to serve as co-chair of the Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board.

“Dealing 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,” said Joe Biden 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.”

A 2001 graduate of Sidney Kimmel Medical College and member of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society, Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith is an associate professor of internal medicine, public health and management at Yale University. She’s also the associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine.

“Our country is facing an unprecedented time with COVID-19 cases accelerating nationwide,” Dr. Nunez-Smith told Yale News. “Everyone is affected by this pandemic, yet the burden is disproportionate. We know communities of color are grieving at high rates and are facing substantial economic impact. The Transition Advisory Board is setting a course for everyone in our country to experience recovery. I’m honored to help lead on that work and thank president-elect Joe Biden for the opportunity to serve.”

The team of leading scientists and public health experts will consult with state and local officials to determine the public health and economic steps necessary to get the virus under control; deliver immediate relief to working families; address ongoing racial and ethnic disparities; and reopen our schools and businesses safely and effectively, according to the Biden-Harris Transition team.

At Yale, Dr. Nunez-Smith’s research focuses on promoting health and healthcare equity for structurally marginalized populations, with an emphasis on supporting healthcare workforce diversity and development, developing patient-reported measurements of healthcare quality, and identifying regional strategies to reduce the global burden of non-communicable diseases.

Jefferson alumna Dr. Cora Christian ’71 has known Dr. Nunez-Smith for decades and served as a mentor during her time at Sidney Kimmel Medical College and beyond. She says Dr. Nunez-Smith is poised to tackle any challenge that lies ahead.

“Not only is she a brilliant physician and researcher, but she’s also one of the nicest people you will meet,” Dr. Christian says.