April 25, 2024

Donna Shalala Named Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Commission On Biodefense


Contact: Steve Aaron
SRA Communications
(717) 554-8614



WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 25, 2024) – Today, the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense named former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna E. Shalala Co-Chair, effective immediately. The announcement follows the passing of former Senator Joe Lieberman, founding Co-Chair, whom we lost unexpectedly last month. Together, Secretary Shalala and Governor Tom Ridge will co-chair the Commission.

“All of us at the Commission are still grieving the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Senator Joe Lieberman,” said Governor Ridge. “His contributions to our work were profound. We will dedicate our 2024 National Blueprint for Biodefense to him. Secretary Shalala is a founding Commissioner and I am personally grateful for her continued leadership and service in our ongoing effort to defend the Nation against biological threats. I am sure that Joe would have given this decision his imprimatur.”

Dr. Shalala is Trustee Professor of Political Science and Health Policy at the University of Miami, where she served as president from 2001-2015. She served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2018-2020, representing Florida’s 27th Congressional District. In 1993, President Clinton nominated her as Secretary for Health and Human Services, where she served for eight years. Most recently, Dr. Shalala was named interim president of The New School in New York City.

“This issue of biodefense, of keeping us safe from biological weapons and pandemic-causing diseases, was of great importance to Joe as it is to each of us who continue this work,” said Dr. Shalala. “I thank Gov. Ridge for his steadfast leadership, and for welcoming me as his co-chair.”

A program and reception honoring Senator Joe Lieberman’s legacy will be held concurrent with the release of the Commission’s landmark 2024 National Blueprint for Biodefense on May 7 at the National Press Club in Washington. Event details can be found here.