UT System’s David Lakey appointed to national commission to improve U.S. public health system

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Dr. David Lakey, M.D., The University of Texas System’s chief medical officer and vice chancellor for health affairs, has been appointed to a new non-partisan commission charged with reimagining a stronger health care system at every level of government.

The Commonwealth Fund – a private foundation that has been dedicated to improving the U.S. health infrastructure since 1918 – recently created the Commission on a National Public Health System in response to the challenges faced by the nation’s decentralized health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Lakey, an expert in infectious diseases and the state’s former health commissioner, will join other prominent thought leaders and health care experts from around the nation to engage in ways to streamline and improve U.S. health care. By early summer 2022, the commission is expected to recommend key strategies for restructuring federal, state and local public health systems to more effectively address the nation’s most pressing public health needs.

“We’ve seen the COVID-19 pandemic strain every level of the public health and health care delivery systems in the U.S., and it revealed a devastating gap in our ability to provide a coordinated response including the caring for people when they needed it most,” Dr. Lakey said. “This is a significant opportunity for real life-saving changes that will impact preparedness and equity for future health crises.”

Throughout the pandemic, Dr. Lakey has served as advisor to Gov. Gregg Abbott and was also a member of Texas’ Vaccine Allocation Panel. Before joining the UT System, Dr. Lakey was the Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services from January 2007 to February 2015. He also has served on federal public health advisory committees for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Defense Health Board. Currently he’s a member of the March of Dimes Board of Trustees and the Trust for America’s Health Board of Directors.

“The University of Texas System and the state of Texas have long benefited from Dr. Lakey’s expertise and commitment to public health, and now the nation will too,” said Dr. John Zerwas, M.D., the UT System’s executive vice chancellor for health affairs. “Now is the time to leverage the lessons learned from the pandemic so that our nation is better prepared to respond to the next health care crisis.”

Dr. Margaret Hamburg, former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is serving as chair of the Commission. The other members include:

Mandy Cohen, M.D., M.P.H, former secretary, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
Karen DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc., chief health officer, Google
Joneigh Khaldun, M.D., M.P.H., vice president and chief equity officer, CVS Health
Ellen MacKenzie, Ph.D., Sc.M., dean, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Herminia Palacio, M.D., M.P.H., president and CEO, Guttmacher Institute
Nirav Shah, M.D., M.P.H., senior scholar, Department of Medicine, Stanford University.

For more information, visit the website Commonwealth Fund Commission on a National Public Health System.
About The University of Texas System

For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 13 institutions, an enrollment of more than 243,000 students and an operating budget of $23.4 billion (FY 2022), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 67,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and more than half of its medical degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 8.6 million outpatient visits and almost 1.8 million hospital days in 2020. UT institutions also are among the most innovative in the world, collectively ranking No. 4 for most U.S. patents granted in 2020, and the UT System is No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the nation in federal research expenditures. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and more than 85,000 health care professionals, researchers and support staff.

News Contact Information
Karen Adler: kadler@utsystem.edu • 512-499-4360 (direct) • 210-912-8055 (cell)

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