The following is a statement by Jeff Levi, Ph.D., executive director of Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), on the nomination of Nicole Lurie as Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR):

“The recent H1N1 outbreak demonstrated the critical importance of the role of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, who serves as the Secretary of Health and Human Service’s principal advisor on public health emergencies and directs a range of preparedness programs and responsibilities. The President could not have selected a more qualified and capable candidate for the job than Dr. Nicole Lurie. In Dr. Lurie, this Administration has found a true expert on some of our nation’s most pressing health challenges, including preparedness, disease prevention and health disparities.

“Dr. Lurie blends strong medical and subject matter expertise with proven, pragmatic managerial skills. She has served in leadership positions in federal and state health departments as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health at HHS and as Medical Advisor to the Commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Health, where she faced the challenges of managing health crises and issues from different perspectives. She has hands-on experience of developing and implementing policies. At the RAND Corporation, Dr. Lurie helped direct numerous important research studies that helped identify ways to better prepare the country for the range of public health emergencies we might face, ranging from natural disasters to major disease outbreaks to bioterrorism threats. She has also been a strong proponent for ensuring that tax dollars are being used in the most effective ways possible to better protect the health and safety of Americans.

“We encourage the Senate to act expeditiously to approve her nomination, since her expertise and leadership capabilities would be of great help as the country responds to the H1N1 outbreak and we continue to bolster our preparedness for future threats.”