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Federal Health Unit Gets New Powers for Pandemic Response

Dawn O'Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Dawn O'Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg
Updated on

The Biden administration is giving new powers to an office within the Health and Human Services Department to take a more prominent role in responding to public health crises, spanning from pandemics to natural disasters. 

HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response will be renamed and enabled to “mobilize a coordinated national response more quickly and stably during future disasters and emergencies,” Dawn O’Connell, who heads the unit, said in a memo obtained by Bloomberg News.