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HHS Expands Advisory Group to Find Inventive Approaches to Counter Rising Tick-Borne Illnesses

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces the appointment of new members to fill vacant positions on the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group (Working Group). These new members include seven Public Members/Special Government Employees (SGEs).

The new Working Group members were officially sworn in by the Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Rachel Levine during the August 26, 2021 meeting.  For more information, visit the Working Group’s website.

The 21st Century Cures Act, enacted in December 2016, authorizes the HHS Secretary to establish a Tick-Borne Disease Working Group to serve as a Federal Advisory Committee. The Working Group is tasked with reviewing federal efforts related to tick-borne diseases, examining research priorities, and identifying and addressing unmet needs.

The Working Group is required to submit a report to the HHS Secretary and Congress on their findings and any recommendations for the federal response to tick-borne disease every two years. The first and second reports can be found on the Working Group’s website.

Holiday Goodreau and Linden Hu will co-chair the Working Group, which will produce the third and final report to the HHS Secretary and Congress. The Working Group members are:

New Public Members

  • Holiday Goodreau (Co-Chair): Executive Director, The LivLyme Foundation; CEO / Co-Inventor, TickTracker (Englewood, CO)
  • Linden T. Hu, MD (Co-Chair): Vice Dean for Research and Professor of Microbiology, Tufts University School of Medicine (Medford, MA)
  • Monica E. Embers, PhD: Professor of Immunology, Tulane University Health Sciences; Director of Vector-Borne Disease Research; Head of Education and Training, Tulane National Primate Research Center (New Orleans, LA)
  • Elizabeth Maloney, MD: President, Partnership for Tick-Borne Disease Education; President, Partnership for Healing and Health, Ltd. (Wyoming, MN)
  • Jennifer Platt, DrPH, MSPH: Co-Founder, Tick-Borne Conditions United; CEO, Founder, TickWarriors (Pittsboro, NC)
  • Sunil Sood, MBBS, DCH, MD: Chairman, Department of Pediatrics; Attending Physician, South Shore University Hospital; Professor, Zucker School of Medicine (Bay Shore, NY)
  • Kirby Stafford, PhD, MS: Chief Scientist, State Entomologist, NE Regional Center for Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases, State of Connecticut (New Haven, CT)

Regular Government Employees (Federal Members)

  • Charles Benjamin (Ben) Beard, PhD: Deputy Director, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • CAPT Rebecca Bunnell, MPAS, PA-C: Senior Advisor, Learning and Diffusion Group, Innovation Center, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Dennis M. Dixon, PhD: Chief, Bacteriology and Mycology Branch, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Robert J. Miller, PhD: Office of National Programs, National Program Leader, Veterinary, Medical, and Urban Entomology, Co-NPL for Crop Entomology, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • CDR Todd Myers, PhD, HCLD (ABB), MB (ASCP): Scientist, Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats, Office of the Chief Scientist, Office of the Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Leith Jason States, MD, MPH (FMF): Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • Gabriela Zollner, PhD: Program Manager, Deployed Warfighter Protection (DWFP) Program, Armed Forces Pest Management Board (AFPMB), Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Acquisition) (DoD)
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other news materials are available at
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Content created by Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH)
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