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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: President Biden Announces White House Monkeypox Coordinators

August 03, 2022

Today, President Biden named FEMA's Robert Fenton as the White House National Monkeypox Response Coordinator and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis as the White House National Monkeypox Response Deputy Coordinator. Fenton and Daskalakis will lead the Administration's strategy and operations to combat the current monkeypox outbreak, including equitably increasing the availability of tests, vaccinations and treatments.

Fenton and Daskalakis combined have over four decades of experience in Federal emergency response and public health leadership, including overseeing the operations and implementation of key components of the Biden Administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and leading local and Federal public health emergency efforts such as infectious disease control and HIV prevention.

Public health experts, state and local leaders, and advocates across the country applaud the Biden Administration's selection.

See below for what they are saying:

Public Health Experts

Abraar Karan: "Biden administration stepping up to the challenge with some very strong appointments to run the national #Monkeypox response" [Tweet, 8/2/22]

Jennifer Nuzzo, DrPH: "Though he may be most well known for his HIV expertise, it's worth noting Demetre Daskalakis is seasoned outbreak responder w/ important community engagement experience. He run the NYC's response to a highly challenging measles outbreak. Very good experience to have for MPX." [Tweet, 8/2/22]

Megan Ranney MD, MPH: "This is very, very good news for our country's #monkeypox response. Two great folks who are trusted by public health and the community alike - and who will have the authority to get things done." [Tweet, 8/2/22]

Jennifer Nuzzo, DrPH: "I agree. Leadership here is right mix of operational, outcome-oriented and public health practice experience. Really glad to see this--not a moment too soon." [Tweet, 8/2/22]

Lawrence Gostin: "Biden hit the sweet spot by appointing Fenton #monkeypox coordinator and Daskalakis as deputy. Fenton is an experienced leader in logistics & supply chains at ?FEMA. Daskalakis brings public health acumen from CDC, working on HIV. A perfect combination" [Tweet, 8/2/22]

Prof Peter Hotez MD, PhD: "Wishing the new @WhiteHouse monkeypox response coordinators Robert Fenton and Dr Demetre Daskalakis @dr_demetre my very best" [Text, 8/2/22]

Federal, State and Local Leaders:

Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12): "Monkeypox is a national emergency. I welcome Dr. Fenton's expertise in his role as WH Monkeypox Response Coordinator. I applaud @POTUS's decision to tackle this virus with a government response and have urged him to declare MPV a public health emergency. [Tweet, 8/2/22]

California Governor Gavin Newsom: "The seriousness of the monkeypox outbreak calls for an experienced and tested leader in emergency response, so it's no surprise President Biden has tapped Bob Fenton for this vital role. Bob has been a critical partner for California, especially during devastating wildfires and throughout the COVID pandemic." [AP, 8/2/22]

New York City Mayor Eric Adams: "Our city knows how good @Dr_Demetre is at fighting for public health from his time at @NYCHealthy. He's an excellent pick to help fight monkeypox, and we'll work side-by-side with him to protect New Yorkers." [Tweet, 8/2/22]

Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle: "The White House's Monkeypox response strategy includes the appointments of FEMA's Robert Fenton & CDC's Demetre Daskalakis (@dr_demetre). I fully support their exceptional leadership and efforts as we all grapple with this world health crisis." [Tweet, 8/2/22]

Former White House COVID Response Coordinator Jeff Zients: "We simply wouldn't be where we are today in our nation's fight against COVID-19 without the expertise and leadership of Bob Fenton. He became an indispensable leader in the whole-of-government response – contributing to a historic, nationawide vaccination program." [Washington Post, 8/2/22]

Organizations and Advocates

AIDS United: "We are pleased that the administration has appointed such strong leadership to help us catch up and respond to this emerging public health crisis." [Tweet, 8/2/22]

GLAAD: ""Fenton and Daskalakis will lead the Administration's strategy and operations to combat the current monkeypox outbreak, including equitably increasing the availability of tests, vaccinations and treatments," said @WhiteHouse [Tweet, 8/2/22]

HIV Medicine Association: "IDSA and HIVMA look forward to working with Robert Fenton and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis to strengthen the response to the monkeypox outbreak in the United States in their new roles as the White House monkeypox response coordinator and deputy coordinator, respectively…" [Statement, 8/2/22]

National Center for Lesbian Rights: "Recently we submitted a joint letter to @CDCgov to ask for a more robust and immediate response to the burgeoning #monkeypox outbreak in the U.S. We are heartened to see the @WhiteHouse taking this demand seriously & create a #MPXV response team yesterday." [Tweet, 8/2/22]

See below for coverage of the announcement:

Washington Post: White House names FEMA's Fenton as monkeypox coordinator

ABC: President Joe Biden will tap top FEMA, CDC officials to lead national monkeypox response

CNN: White House selects FEMA and CDC officials to coordinate monkeypox response

The Advocate: Monkeypox: CDC's HIV/AIDS Prevention Director to Help Oversee Response

Axios: Biden names FEMA veteran to lead monkeypox response

New York Times: Biden Names White House Coordinator for Monkeypox

USA Today: Biden taps top officials from FEMA and CDC to coordinate fight against monkeypox outbreak

Joseph R. Biden, WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: President Biden Announces White House Monkeypox Coordinators Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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