President Biden has named Dr. Paul Friedrichs, a retired Air Force Major General and military combat surgeon who helped direct the Pentagon’s COVID-19 response, to head a new White House office created by Congress to prepare for and manage future biological threats.
The White House announced the appointment on Friday, saying it will take effect on August 7. It would then be up to Dr. Friedrichs to create a new office, the Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy, which the administration named OPPR, Washington’s acronym.
The appointment follows a lengthy search for Director, which began at the White House, but Dr. Friedrichs recently joined the staff of the National Security Council as Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense. Prior to that, he served as a Joint Chiefs of Staff Surgeon at the Department of Defense, providing medical advice to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.his planned choice was reported last week By Washington Post.
Why it matters: Future health threats are looming.
The coronavirus pandemic is often described as the worst public health crisis in 100 years. But experts agree that given current migration patterns and human-animal interactions, the next pandemic could be less than a century and less than a decade away.
The era of the “Emperor” of the new coronavirus is over. Jeffrey D. Zientz, Biden’s first White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said: Currently the White House Chief of Staff. Ashish K. Jha, the second coordinator, said: returned to his position as Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. Zientz praised Dr. Friedrichs for his work on the pandemic and said he would “be at the forefront of making sure it never happens again.”
COVID-19 has made it clear that biological health threats don’t respect boundaries, including those that divide federal agencies. Dr. Friedrichs’ appointment signals a more permanent and coordinated effort to prepare for and respond to the pandemic, which will continue beyond the Biden administration and be centralized within the White House.
Background: Dr. Friedrichs has served in the Air Force for decades.
and Lecture in February, Dr. Friedrichs reflected on his 37-year career in the Air Force and told a little about himself. His father served in the Navy at the end of World War II, his mother was a Hungarian freedom fighter, and his parents were killed by the Russians. His wife was an army doctor when we met.
He also reflected on the military’s role in the fight against COVID-19, including helping develop and distribute vaccines and providing medical assistance to struggling hospitals. “The military health care system has become a pinch hitter that stepped in to help our civilian partners as we struggle to come together to overcome this pandemic,” he said.
what’s next: This job focuses on preparation.
Dr. Friedrich’s new position gives him the authority to oversee the country’s biosecurity preparedness. He needs to work on developing next-generation vaccines, ensure adequate supplies of the National Strategic Stockpile, and strengthen surveillance to monitor emerging biological threats.
He also needs to work with Congress to secure funding for preparatory activities. Lawmakers set up a new White House office as part of a government spending package enacted late last year.