Indian American Ashish Jha to be New White House Covid Response Coordinator
India-West Staff Reporter
Indian American Jha is dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health. In succeeding Jeffrey Zients, Jha will lead the response of the entire U.S. to the COVID-19 pandemic, while also advancing the nation’s global health priorities and policies. The appointment begins Apr. 5.
Biden, in a statement 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. And as we enter a new moment in the pandemic — executing on my National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and managing the ongoing risks from COVID — Dr. Jha is the perfect person for the job.”
In addition to his role as dean and public health scholar, Jha is a practicing physician with deep expertise in infectious diseases, Brown University said. He is a globally recognized expert on pandemic preparedness and response as well as on health policy research and practice. Over the past year, Jha has participated in congressional hearings on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, among others. Recently, he advised the White House on the President’s national COVID-19 preparedness plan.
Jha began his tenure as dean of the Brown University School of Public Health in Sept.2020. He joined the university after leading the Harvard Global Health Institute and teaching at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School.
Jha was born in Bihar in 1970. He moved to Canada in 1979 and then to the US in 1983. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Columbia University and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He trained in internal medicine at the University of California in San Francisco. He completed his general medicine fellowship at Harvard Medical School and received his master of public health in 2004 from Harvard’s School of Public Health.
Jha has led groundbreaking research around Ebola. With funding from sources such as the National Institutes of Health, the Gates Foundation, the Climate Change Solutions Fund and the Commonwealth Fund, Jha’s research focuses on improving the quality of health care systems with a specialized focus on how national policies impact care. He has led some of the seminal work comparing the performance of the U.S. health system to those of other high-income countries to better understand why the U.S. spends more but often achieves less in population health.
He has published more than 200 empirical papers and writes regularly about ways to improve health care systems, both in the U.S. and globally. In addition to his academic appointments at Brown and Harvard, he has served in a number of roles at the federal level, including as special assistant to the secretary in the Department of Veterans Affairs from 2009 to 2013.