UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Biden taps three UCSF doctors to serve on COVID-19 advisory board

Faculty members will help shape national response to pandemic

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped three UC San Francisco doctors to serve on a newly formed COVID-19 advisory board in one of his first steps to address perhaps the most pressing crisis facing his incoming administration.

The Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board announced early Monday will include UCSF professors David Kessler, Eric Goosby and Robert Rodriguez. Kessler, a professor epidemiology and biostatistics and the former Dean of the UCSF School of Medicine, will be one of three co-chairs leading the 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,” Biden said 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.”

Kessler previously served as commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration in both the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.

Kessler joins fellow co-chairs Vivek Murthy, surgeon general under President Barack Obama, and Marcella Nunez-Smith, a professor at Yale School of Medicine, as leaders of the 13-member advisory board.

Goosby, a professor of medicine, served as interim Director of the White House’s Office of National AIDS Policy under Clinton and led the implementation of the Obama administration’s emergency response to the same disease.

Rodriguez, a professor of emergency medicine, works at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and in the intensive care unit at Oakland’s Highland Hospital. During the pandemic, he’s helped to spearhead research into the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of frontline workers.

UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood said the appointees “represent the extraordinary and relentless dedication the UCSF community has shown in meeting the challenge of the coronavirus across our patient care, research and education efforts.”

“Our public health mission has never been clearer nor pursued with greater determination,” Hawgood said in a statement.

San Francisco is currently experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases.

After bringing the viral load down enough to re-open indoor dining at partial capacity and other facilities such as gyms and places of worship, the daily caseload is ticking back up.

Local officials have since paused plans to relax restrictions in light of the increase.

Data from the Department of Public Health reveals a seven-day average of 53 new cases daily through November 6.

However, that data doesn’t yet account for the weekend’s widespread celebrations of the Biden victory around the Bay Area that experts say likely led to some spread of the coronavirus.

cgraf@sfexaminer.com

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