With an immediate plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, president-elect Joe Biden has formed a task force and named a savvy Black Yale professor as one of three co-chairs to lead the initiative. 

Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, an associate professor of internal medicine, public health and management at Yale School of Medicine, will join University of California at San Francisco's Dr. David Kessler and former surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy in guiding Biden and his administration in COVID-19 response, according to The Hartford Courant. 


“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.”

In a statement on Monday, Nunez-Smith said she was grateful to join Biden’s task force at a time when the pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color. 

“Everyone is affected by this pandemic, yet the burden is disproportionate,” Nunez-Smith said. "We know communities of color are grieving at high rates and are facing substantial economic impact. The transition advisory board is setting a course for everyone in our country to experience recovery.”

Nunez-Smith has built a long and successful career as a medical professional. She graduated with degrees from Pennsylvania's Swarthmore College, Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and Yale. She has since acted as the founding director of the Equity Research and Innovation Center, director of the Center for Research Engagement and deputy director of the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, The Hartford Courant reports. 

According to her Yale bio, Nunez-Smith's research concentrates on “promoting health and healthcare equity for structurally marginalized populations with an emphasis on supporting healthcare workforce diversity and development, developing patient reported measurements of healthcare quality."

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont wrote on Twitter that he supported the president-elect in appointing Dr. Nunez-Smith and Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel to the taskforce due to their work on local COVID-19 response.

"Pleased to see that members of CT’s #COVID science team are recognized around the country. Yale physician Dr. Marcella Nunez Smith is co-chair of President-elect @JoeBiden’s COVID team—which also includes Dr. @ZekeEmanuel—both of whom have been advising our state response," Lamont tweeted. 

In addition to the three co-chairs, the newly appointed Biden task force has recruited ten other experts from across the country, including Dr. Emanuel, former White House medical senior advisor Dr. Atul Gawande and former George W. Bush administration epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, according to Yahoo! News.