Harvey Fineberg Named Chair of Standing Committee Requested by White House in Response to Coronavirus

March 6, 2020

Harvey Fineberg Named Chair of Standing Committee Requested by White House in Response to Coronavirus

WASHINGTON — The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced today that Harvey Fineberg, former president of the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) and current president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, will serve as the chair of the Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats. 

The standing committee, requested by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, will provide a neutral forum to convene experts who can engage rapidly with the federal government, including responding on short notice to requests.  The standing committee will serve as a focal point for discussions on how to integrate science into national preparedness and response decision-making, to explore lessons learned and best practices from previous preparedness and response efforts, and to consider strategies for addressing misinformation. 

Fineberg’s wide-ranging past research encompasses HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, the fields of risk assessment and decision-making, the evaluation of diagnostic tests and vaccines, the ethical and social implications of new medical technologies, and medical education. 

“We are very pleased that Harvey Fineberg has agreed to chair this committee to assist the federal government with its response to COVID-19,” said National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau.  “His expertise in health policy and medical decision-making undoubtedly make him the right choice to lead this important committee.” 

The standing committee will include members with expertise in emerging infectious diseases, public health, public health preparedness and response, clinical care and crisis standards of care, risk communication, and regulatory issues.  In addition to serving as a venue for discussion of topics such as these, the standing committee will consider issues to be examined further in consensus studies by separately appointed committees. 

An earlier statement from the National Academies emphasized that it is imperative that evidence-based information from expert sources be freely shared in order to counter the spread of rumors, misinformation, and uninformed speculation.

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