White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator
White House

Ashish Jha

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator

Ashish K. Jha is the Biden Administration’s White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator.

Before his appointment to the White House, Dr. Jha was Dean of the Brown School of Public Health and a Professor of Health, Policy, and Practice. Prior to joining Brown University, Jha was the Faculty Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute from 2014 until 2020, and served as the Dean for Global Strategy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health from 2018 to 2020. In addition to his role as dean and public health scholar, Jha is a practicing physician with deep expertise in infectious diseases.

Announcing Dr. Jha’s appointment, President Biden said: “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.”

Statements on development, diplomacy, and U.S. global leadership:

On U.S. Global Leadership: “Washington should not simply dwell on its lost standing and influence in the arena of global health governance. Instead, it should enthusiastically play a central and constructive role in this new order, working with a diverse set of partners to reform global health in ways that are consistent with American values.” (source)

On COVID-19: “Unlike the health threats of the last century, the COVID-19 pandemic has reached nearly every corner of the globe. The United States cannot sit aloof from a troubled world, dispensing its benevolence and largess; it, too, is caught up in the crisis.” (source)

 On Multilateralism: “Washington must reimagine how it can lead: instead of trying to define the agenda, it must work with other governments, regional organizations, and the private sector to put partnership at the center of its efforts to protect public health.” (source)

On PEPFAR: “Having devoted to date over $95 billion, [PEPFAR] remains the largest commitment of any government in history to address a disease and the largest commitment by the U.S. government to any cause since the Marshall Plan. It has been enormously successful, preventing, by one estimate, 18 million deaths.” (source)

On Health Technology: “But the federal government remains missing in action. If the United States does not lead the implementation and mainstreaming of [data-based contact tracing], the country will be forced to choose between meeting future health challenges blindfolded and adopting approaches developed by authoritarian governments that do not share U.S. constitutional values.” (source)

On Africa: “To promote global health equity, prevent the rise of dangerous new variants, and stop more of its doses from going to waste, the United States should give large shares of its surplus vaccines to [the Africa CDC] …The United States could and should help the organization become more self-sufficient by increasing vaccine manufacturing in Africa as quickly as possible. This is the only way that the continent will be able to fully fight not just COVID-19 but also the next pandemic.” (Source)