Kessler Selected as Chief Science Officer Under Biden Administration

Jan. 20, 2021
Former FDA Commissioner David Kessler, MD, will head the White House COVID-19 Response Team.

Dr. David A Kessler, M.D., who served as the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration from 1990-1997, will now be serving as the Chief Science Officer of COVID Response under President Joe Biden. 

Kessler served as the head of the FDA under Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton and served as a co-chair of the COVID-19 Task Force for President-elect Joe Biden. His role as Chief Science Officer was made during an announcement from the presidential transition office on January 15. 

Under the FDA, Dr. Kessler was sworn in on the same day that the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) was signed. He would go on to become one of the key architects of the Nutrition Facts panel, which was considered controversial when it was first introduced and implemented. 

As the Chief Science Officer of the COVID Response Team, Kessler will work out of the federal Department of Health and Human Services. His responsibilities will be for the scientific side of Operation Warp Speed, an effort by President Trump's administration to rapidly develop vaccines and treatments. Kessler's post does not require Senate approval and begins immediately.

Also on the COVID-19 Response Team are: 

  • Amy Chang, policy advisor
  • Abbe Gluck, special counsel
  • Rosa Po, COVID Response Team deputy chief of staff
  • Andy Slavitt, senior advisor to the COVID Response coordinator
  • Vidur Sharma, policy advisor for testing
  • Ben Wakana, deputy director of strategic communications & engagement
  • B. Cameron Webb, senior policy advisor for COVID-19 equity

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