White House says Indian-American physician Ashish Jha is effective communicator on tackling COVID-19
Jha, the Dean of Public Health at Brown University, replaces outgoing COVID czar Jeffrey Zients, and will take up the position on April 5.
America’s new COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha is an effective communicator for the country on how to approach and tackle coronavirus, the White House said hours after President Joe Biden appointed the Indian-American physician as his top advisor on the pandemic. Jha, the Dean of Public Health at Brown University, replaces outgoing COVID czar Jeffrey Zients, and will take up the position on April 5.
“We’re having a public health expert, somebody who’s as well known. Dr. Jha is effective in communicating with the country about how we’re going to continue to approach and tackle the pandemic,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference on Thursday.“I am excited to name Dr. Ashish Jha as the new White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator. Dr. Jha is one of the leading public health experts in America, and a well-known figure to many Americans from his wise and calming public presence,” Biden said as he announced his appointment.
In a statement, Jha, 51, promised to be straightforward with the American people and “clear in sharing what we know, in explaining what we don’t know and how we will learn more, and what the future will ask of all of us.” This is the right choice for public safety, said Impact, an organisation that elevates the voices of Indian-Americans.
“We believe that Dr. Dean Ashish K Jha is an excellent choice for this critical role. Dr. Jha is an extraordinary leader who understands how the government plays an important role in tackling the COVID crisis at home and globally,” said Neil Makhija, executive director of Impact.“His advocacy in the last year was key in fighting for global vaccine distribution and equity, especially when India and South Asia were experiencing devastating covid surges and vaccine shortages,” he said.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) applauded Biden’s decision to appoint a renowned public health expert as the next White House COVID-19 response coordinator.
“We applaud Dr. Ashish Jha’s appointment to lead the COVID-19 response within the Biden Administration. We have full confidence in his abilities and experience because we have collaborated with Dr. Jha in the past by analysing the global response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. This analysis was published in The Lancet journal (2015) and later in the British Medical Journal (2016),” said Dr. Jorge Saavedra, Executive Director of the AHF Global Public Health Institute at the University of Miami.
Brown University president Christina H Paxson said Jha’s appointment brings a top scholar and highly regarded Brown academic leader to White House service, offering a prominent illustration of the ways in which the university can make a positive impact on domestic and global issues of significant consequence.