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Samantha Sears

Behavioral Health Policy and Practice Intern

HHS Secretary Appoints New Senior Advisor for Opioid Policy

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On March 29th, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar announced the reassignment of Dr. Brett Giroir to serve as senior opioid advisor at HHS. Dr. Giroir, who previously served as HHS Assistant Secretary for Health, will now oversee the department’s opioid-related policies. Giroir is a four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which supports national improvement of behavioral health.

Dr. Giroir, in his role as senior advisor to Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Mental Health and Substance Use Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, should bring a unique perspective to combatting the opioid epidemic as his ideas include using infectious disease practices to remedy opioid use. He has previously stated the opioid crisis is one of the most important public health issue in decades, and public health officials need to be proactive instead of reactive.

Giroir earned his medical doctorate at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and a bachelor’s in biology from Harvard University. Dr. Giroir studied infectious diseases including acting as director of the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness Response during the global Ebola health emergency. Additionally, his infectious disease research has led him to create biomedical devices for which he holds multiple patents.