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Former congresswoman, former FDA commissioner join Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense

Former U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, a Republican who represented the 5th District of Indiana from 2013-2021, and former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Peggy Hamburg, who served as the agency’s 21st commissioner between 2009-2015, have joined the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense.

“We are very pleased to welcome Congresswoman Brooks and Commissioner Hamburg, whose wealth of expertise will enhance the work of this Commission,” said former Senator Joe Lieberman, Commission Co-Chair. “During her time in Congress, Susan Brooks ensured that many of our recommendations from our original National Blueprint for Biodefense were included in the Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act. Peggy Hamburg has also spent considerable time addressing biological threats during her time as FDA Commissioner and previously as the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, when she served under one of our founding Commissioners, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala. We look forward to their contributions to our important work.”

Brooks was named the inaugural Congressional Biosecurity Champion by the Alliance for Biosecurity for her work on preparing the country for biological threats like Ebola and anthrax. Before serving in Congress, Brooks was the senior vice president and general counsel for Ivy Tech Community College from 2007-2012, focusing on workforce development strategies that enhanced job training and placement for Indiana residents.

Hamburg recently retired as Foreign Secretary for the National Academy of Medicine and finished terms as President and Board Chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Internationally recognized as a leader in public health, medicine, and science, Hamburg was known at the FDA for advancing regulatory science, modernizing regulatory pathways, and globalizing the agency. Prior to her work at the FDA, she was the founding Vice President for Biological Programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a foundation dedicated to reducing nuclear, chemical, and biological threats.

“Susan and Peggy remind us that the word ‘bipartisan’ in our Commission’s name is not just an afterthought,” said former Secretary of Homeland Security, Governor Tom Ridge. “The bipartisan work that goes into developing our recommendations serves an important purpose. It underscores that preparing for a biological incident is not a Republican or a Democrat issue – it is a matter of national security that should concern all Americans regardless of party affiliation. Susan and Peggy each have long and distinguished track records of working across party lines to help make our country a safer place. We are thrilled to have them on board.”

Liz Carey

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