What to know about the doctors with Boston connections on Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board

The president-elect unveiled the members of the new board on Monday.

Dr. Atul Gawande in 2015. The Boston Globe

President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team announced Monday who will be on his COVID-19 advisory board, and more than a few of the doctors tapped to serve have ties to Massachusetts.

Related Links

The advisory board, which will guide the Biden-Harris transition team in planning and implementing the new administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, will be chaired by Dr. David Kessler, Dr. Vivek Murthy, and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, according to a press release.

Kessler, who served as FDA commissioner from 1990 to 1997, is a graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Medical School. Murthy, who served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States from 2014 to 2017, is a graduate of Harvard and also worked as a Harvard Medical School instructor and attending physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital. Nunez-Smith also has connections to Brigham and Women’s, where she did her medical residency.

Acclaimed author and Brigham and Women’s surgeon Dr. Atul Gawande is among those serving on the board. Gawande, founder and chair of Ariadne Labs and Lifebox, previously served as a senior adviser in the Department of Health and Human Services under the Clinton administration.

Another member of the board, Dr. Robert Rodriguez, is a graduate of Harvard Medical School. Rodriguez currently serves as a professor of emergency medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine.

“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,” Biden said in a statement announcing the board’s formation. “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.”


Below, see the full list of the members of the advisory board: 

Dr. David Kessler, co-chair, former FDA commissioner

Dr. Vivek Murthy, co-chair, former surgeon general 

Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, co-chair, associate professor of internal medicine, public health, and management at Yale University

Dr. Luciana Borio, former assistant commissioner for counterterrorism policy and acting chief scientist at the FDA

Dr. Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) 

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, served as special advisor for health policy to the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget from 2009 to 2011.

Dr. Atul Gawande, surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Dr. Celine Gounder, assistant professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine 

Dr. Julie Morita, executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former Chicago health commissioner

Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota

Loyce Pace, executive director and president of the Global Health Council

Dr. Robert Rodriguez, professor of emergency medicine at UCSF School of Medicine 

Dr. Eric Goosby, founding director of the Ryan White CARE Act during the Clinton administration

Get's browser alerts:

Enable breaking news notifications straight to your internet browser.

Jump To Comments


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on