May 15, 2021

Business Information

The 5 women on Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force

3 min read
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! A little-known Trump appointee controls some parts of the presidential transition,...

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! A little-known Trump appointee controls some parts of the presidential transition, IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath gets a Vogue India cover, and the Biden-Harris administration starts to take shape. Have a restful Tuesday.

– The 5 women advising Biden on COVID. U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to seek a Cabinet that “looks like America.” And just days after he won the 2020 presidential contest, we’re getting an idea of who might be among his top advisors.

Yesterday, Biden announced his coronavirus task force, and the makeup of the 13-member group mostly meets the President-elect’s diversity pledge. As Fortune‘s Maria Aspan reports, 69% of the doctors and health experts named as advisors are Black, Latinx, Asian, or from other underrepresented groups. Thirty-eight percent are female. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine and a doctor who’s focused on structural inequities in health and health care, is one of the task force’s co-chairs. The other four women are: Luciana Borio, a doctor, VP of In-Q-Tel, and senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations; Celine Gounder, a clinical assistant professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and a doctor at Bellevue Hospital Center; Julie Morita, a doctor who’s EVP of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Loyce Pace, the executive director and president of the Global Health Council.

Including perspectives from people of color and women—which should be a given!—is critical since the pandemic has disproportionately hurt members of the two groups, from a public health standpoint and economically. The announcement itself acknowledged the unequal fallout of the virus, stating that addressing the pandemic’s “ongoing racial and ethnic disparities” was one of the group’s priorities.

Beyond the task force, there’s plenty of speculation about whom Biden will pick to lead top federal agencies. One of the most-watched Cabinet positions is Treasury secretary, and Emma has a story on an early frontrunner: Lael Brainard.

Now a Fed governor, Brainard previously served the Obama administration as under secretary of the Treasury and worked for the Clinton White House as an economic advisor. She’s considered a moderate pick, at least compared to more progressive contenders, and favors keeping rates low, Emma reports. If she winds up in the job, she’ll represent another first for the Biden administration; a woman has never led the Treasury before.

Meanwhile, a Trump appointee is likely getting more attention that she bargained for. Emily Murphy, administrator of the General Services Administration, has the little-known role of formally starting the transition between U.S. presidents; it’s an acknowledgement by the federal government that the election has a winner. The action—which usually takes place just hours after a winner is determined—is not just symbolic; it releases resources and information to the incoming administration so it can seamlessly assume power. Murphy, known as by-the-book and well-qualified, has not yet triggered the transition, an obvious nod to President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede. A spokeswoman for the GSA told the Washington Post that Murphy will act when a winner is “ascertain[ed].”

Claire Zillman
[email protected]

Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe

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