Birx has worked for decades in the medical field, largely focusing on combating and preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. The staffing move is likely intended to appease calls from many lawmakers for the Trump administration to appoint a “czar” to oversee the federal response to the coronavirus.
“She has deep experience in coordinating across agencies,” Pence’s office said in announcing Birx’s new role. “She has worked from the research bench to the clinic, but understands the primary focus must always be to reach the individuals most in need. She will bring her infectious disease, immunologic, vaccine research and interagency coordinating capacity to this position.