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  • Washington Highlights

    Senate Confirms Levine, Murthy to HHS Roles


    Christa Wagner, Manager, Government Relations

    The Senate voted to confirm two of President Joe Biden’s nominees to roles in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during the week of March 22.

    Rachel Levine, MD, was confirmed by a vote of 52-48 on March 24 to be assistant secretary for health. Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, was confirmed by a vote of 57-43 on March 23 to serve as surgeon general — a position he previously held from 2014 to 2017. The AAMC supported the nominations of both Levine and Murthy in advance of their testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Feb. 25 [see Washington Highlights, Feb. 26].  

    In the Feb. 19 letter of support for Levine’s nomination, AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, cited Levine’s important qualifications for the role, such as her experience as a clinician researcher and public health official, which included efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic and opioid crisis. “She additionally has worked to raise awareness on gender identity issues and has advocated for equitable health care coverage, and she would serve as an important voice in efforts to address discrimination in health care,” he added.

    In a Feb. 24 letter in support of Murthy’s nomination, Skorton highlighted Murthy’s past leadership on the addiction crisis and his related call to action for health professionals. He added, “For years, Dr. Murthy also has been outspoken about the public health implications of isolation, loneliness, and stress. This expertise will be particularly relevant during and after the COVID-19 pandemic to promote well-being within the general public and among frontline clinicians.”