President-elect Joe Biden has named several key appointments to his health team, including the nomination of Xavier Becerra to the role of Secretary of Health and Human Services. If confirmed, Becerra will be the first Latino to hold the position.

Becerra comes to the Department of Health and Human Services as the 33rd attorney general of California and the first Latino to hold the position in the state. Here, he was a long-time champion of expanding access to healthcare by previously serving as a member of Congress and helping to pass the Affordable Care Act. He also led the defense of the Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court last month.

Becerra also served 12 terms as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives on the committee of Ways and Means. He was also a ranking member of the subcommittee on Social Security and Chair of the House Democratic Caucus.

Becerra is originally from Sacramento, receiving his bachelor’s of arts degree from Stanford University and his doctor of law degree from Stanford Law School.

He was the first member of his family to graduate from college, starting his career as a legal aid for an attorney who worked with clients with mental health issues. He also served one term in the State Assembly.

Biden has also appointed Dr. Rochelle Walensky, a leading-expert on virus testing, prevention, and treatment to Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dr. Vivek Murthy, former vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, to surgeon general; and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, one of the nation’s experts on healthcare disparities to the COVID-19 Equity Task Force Chair.

The nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci will continue his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and will also serve as chief medical adviser on COVID-19 to the president.

Jeff Zients has been named as the coordinator of the COVID-19 Response and counselor to the president, and Natalie Quillian was named deputy coordinator of the COVID-19 Response.

In a statement, the Biden-Harris team said the new “team looks like America and brings together leaders with deep experience in public health, government, and crisis management.”

The statement continued by saying, “They are experts in their fields who will restore public trust in the pandemic response by leading with facts, science, integrity, and a laser-focus on bringing COVID-19 under control.”

The new appointees will advise both Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on the government’s response to surge testing and tracking to slow the spread of the coronavirus while protecting frontline workers and ensuring safe and efficient delivery of treatments and vaccines at “no cost” to Americans.

xyz_becerra Xavier Becerra has been named to the role of Secretary of Health and Human Services by President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: Biden-Harris Transition Team