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Dean Ashish Jha selected for incoming Governor McKee’s COVID-19 Advisory Group

Following months of national, informal COVID-19 advising, Jha joins incoming R.I. governor’s advising committee

Science & Research Editor
Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Dean Jha has become a national voice during the pandemic, contributing to COVID-19 analysis and advising policymakers and officials.

Dean of the School of Public Health Ashish Jha will serve as part of Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Daniel McKee’s COVID-19 Advisory Group. The announcement came as McKee prepares to assume the role of Rhode Island governor in place of Gov. Gina Raimondo, whose nomination for commerce secretary in the Biden administration was approved by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Feb. 3 but is awaiting final confirmation from the rest of the U.S. Senate.

Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jha has become a national voice, contributing to COVID-19 analysis and informally advising policymakers and elected officials across the country, including Raimondo.

“Dr. Jha is a valuable and important leader in the Rhode Island community” whose national contributions to the pandemic influenced his selection for the committee, wrote Andrea Palagi, director of communications at the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, in an email to The Herald. “The incoming governor looks forward to having Dr. Jha serve and bring his expertise to the advisory group,” she said.

Members of the group will be advising the incoming governor on strategies such as virus contagion, vaccine rollout and the safe reopening of schools and businesses, Palagi wrote. Jha will “provide data and information as well as extensive knowledge on pandemic response to help inform (these) strategies.”

Members of the committee include government representatives and other health professionals. Since the Feb. 3 press release, “Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera and Smithfield Town Manager Randy Rossi have been added as advisors,” Palagi added.

Having previously worked with Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott MPH’11, Jha will be able to continue this collaboration. Jha also “was really pleased when (Lieutenant Gov. McKee) said he was not planning on making any changes in the leadership of the state.”

“Helping Rhode Island is obviously at the top of my priority list,” so “I’m really pleased to be a part of” the advisory group, Jha said.

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