WH names HHS lawyer as new No. 2 COVID official

The White House announced Wednesday that Lisa Barclay, a top Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) lawyer, is becoming the No. 2 official overseeing the administration’s COVID-19 response.


Barclay is assuming the role of deputy White House COVID-19 response coordinator, under Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health who started this week as the new coordinator.


Jha, known for his communications and public health knowledge, does not have extensive experience in government or navigating bureaucracy. Barclay, therefore, a government veteran, could help in those areas.


The White House touted her experience in a statement.


“Barclay has served in multiple Administrations, most recently as Deputy General Counsel for the Department of Health and Human Services where she has been instrumental in helping manage the COVID-19 response,” a White House official said.

“Barclay brings with her extensive experience working in the Executive branch, helping to develop regulations, guidance and processes at FDA, CDC, and across HHS.”


In addition to her current role at HHS, Barclay served as Food and Drug Administration chief of staff during the Obama administration.