Georgetown’s Rebecca Katz Named Advisor on Biden Coronavirus Task Force

Rebecca Katz Headshot

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Karen Teber

WASHINGTON (November 9, 2020) — Georgetown University Medical Center’s Rebecca Katz, PhD, MPH,  director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security, has been named as an advisor for President-elect Joe Biden’s new coronavirus task force.

Katz has been part of a team advising Biden on COVID-19 for the last several months along with two of the new task force’s co-chairs Vivek H. Murthy, surgeon general during the Obama administration, and David Kessler, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The third co-chair is Marcella Nunez-Smith, associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine.

With the announcement today, Katz joins a highly regarded team of scientists and physicians set to advise the incoming administration on managing various aspects of the pandemic during the transition before the new president is sworn in Jan. 20, 2021. By then, the pandemic is expected to be at or near its peak. Currently, more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day are being diagnosed in the U.S. and the daily death totals often reach 1,000.

Katz, a professor in the department of microbiology and immunology, has expertise in pandemic planning. For more than a decade, she has worked to help design systems and implement policies to facilitate a coordinated response to potential microbial outbreaks and pandemics. She is also an expert on the World Health Organization and its International Health Regulations.

Since 2007, much of her work has focused on the domestic and global implementation of the International Health Regulations as well as global governance of public health emergencies. From 2004 to 2019, Dr. Katz was a consultant to the Department of State, working on issues related to the Biological Weapons Convention, pandemic influenza and disease surveillance. In 2019, Katz co-convened the first international scientific conference on global health security, bringing together over 900 participants from around the world to form a community of practice.

At Georgetown, she teaches courses on global health diplomacy, global health security, and emerging infectious diseases in the School of Foreign Service. Prior to coming to Georgetown in 2016, she spent ten years at The George Washington University as faculty in the Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Katz received her undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College, a Master’s in Public Health from Yale University, and a Ph.D. from Princeton University.