May 7, 2020

U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala Headlines Next Meeting of Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense Focused on COVID-19 Response


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


COVID-19: Forewarned, But Not Forearmed

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 7, 2020) – The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense will premiere a virtual meeting this Friday, May 8, to provide the Commission with a better understanding of the ongoing response to novel coronavirus 2019. The meeting, COVID-19: Forewarned, But Not Forearmed, will examine national readiness to address large-scale spread of the disease in the U.S. and throughout the world, and implications for strengthening America’s defense against the next, inevitable, biological threat.

Led by Commission Co-Chairs, former Senator Joe Lieberman and Gov. Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security, the Commission welcomes back one of its original members, Representative Donna Shalala (D-FL). Rep. Shalala will discuss the role of Congress in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to prepare the Nation for the next biological event.

“We expect Rep. Shalala to provide her candid, unvarnished take on our nation’s response to this pandemic,” said Gov. Ridge. “More importantly, she will help us look to what’s next and the important role state and local governments will play in the months ahead. As a former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Rep. Shalala is unique in her ability to provide congressional and federal insights.”

“As one of our original Commissioners, Rep. Shalala helped us author, Holding the Line on Biodefense: State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Reinforcements Needed, which we released in October 2018, two years before the COVID-19 pandemic began” said Senator Lieberman. “We look forward to getting her take on the current situation and what can be done to reduce the toll this disease will take on American lives and economy.”

Other panelists will discuss leadership, supply chains, and diagnostic tests, and implications of the National Blueprint for Biodefense for policy to better defend against future biological threats. Those panelists are:

  • The Honorable Tevi D. Troy – Former Deputy Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services; Former Deputy Assistant and Acting Assistant to President George W. Bush for Domestic Policy; former Policy Director, Senator John Ashcroft; former Domestic Policy Director, Policy Committee, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Nicolette Louissaint, PhD – Executive Director, Healthcare Ready; former Senior Advisor to the Special Coordinator for Ebola, Department of State
  • Brent C. Satterfield, PhD – Chief Science Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and founder, Co-Diagnostics Inc.

Editor’s Note
: Due to the virtual nature of the meeting, journalists will not have the opportunity to ask questions at the conclusion of the meeting. Journalists interested in interviews should contact Steve Aaron by emailing meeting will be held virtually on May 8 beginning at 2pm. To register please visit the events page on the Commission website here.

About the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense

The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense was established in 2014 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. biodefense efforts, and to issue recommendations to foster change. The Commission’s 2015 report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, identified capability gaps, and recommended changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments. Subsequent Commission publications have addressed critical needs for agrodefense, biodefense budgeting, and State, Local, Tribal and Territorial support. In September 2018, the White House released the National Biodefense Strategy, a top recommendation from the Blueprint. The Commission continues to assess biodefense challenges and to urge reform. Former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor Tom Ridge co-chair the Commission, and are joined by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Representative Jim Greenwood, former Homeland Security Advisor Ken Wainstein, and former Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor Lisa Monaco. Hudson Institute is the Commission’s fiscal sponsor.