Dr. Jha returns to Brown University after year as Whitehouse’s ‘Covid Czar’

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Dr. Ashish Jha, former Covid response coordinator for the Whitehouse, has returned to Brown University to head the School of Public Health.

“I still get goosebumps thinking about it,” said Jha, reflecting on his year in Washington D.C. “When I got into the job, I realized I need to get out of the prediction business and get in the preparation business.”

Jha worked closely with President Joe Biden beginning in April 2022. During this time, many Covid restrictions nationwide were lifting, but the Omicron variant was growing.

Focusing on adding national resources, Jha told ABC 6 Thursday, “We have a strategic national stockpile now that is full. It has plenty of masks, gloves, and gowns so that doctors and nurses never have to do the things they used to do. We have plenty of tests, treatments, and vaccines just being prepared for whatever comes down the pike.”

As dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University, his national experience will now be focused on the local public health crises in Southern New England.

He added, “Life expectancy has declined. That means people are dying at a younger age. We got to turn that around. We got an opioid crisis. We have a mental health crisis, and we got a global warming crisis.”

Jha told ABC 6 his department has already hit the ground running on new research endeavors and implementation processes. In the nation’s capital, he brought his experience from the Ocean State.

He finished, “It was a moment of pride to be able to talk about a lot of those things in Washington and remind people in much bigger and often wealthier states that they didn’t get some of the things right. We did here in the Ocean State so that was a lot of fun.”

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