Pritesh Gandhi, Bhavya Lal Join the Biden Administration

Dem Candidate Pritesh Gandhi Joins DHS

Austin: An Austin doctor who was U.S. House candidate picked by Biden as DHS chief medical officer
An Austin physician, who was a Democratic congressional candidate last year, was selected by President JoeBiden to join his administration, according to a Thursday news release from the clinic he is leaving for his new role.
Dr. Pritesh Gandhi was appointed chief medical officer of the Department of Homeland Security, providing senior leadership on medical and public health issues, effective immediately, according to the release from People’s Community Clinic of Austin.
He will lead on issues related to natural disasters, border health, pandemic response, acts of terrorism and other human-caused disasters and serve as principal adviser to the Department of Homeland Security secretary, assistant secretary for the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office and the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, according to the release.
Before his appointment, Gandhi was associate medical director for People’s Community Clinic of Austin and he co-led the clinic’s COVID-19 response team with Chief Medical Officer Dr. Louis Appel.
Gandhi also was a candidate for the 10th Congressional District, losing in a primary runoff to Mike Siegel, who lost to U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, in November. His platform included Medicare for all who want it, universal background checks for all gun purchases and supporting rural communities.
Regina Rogoff, People’s chief executive officer said Gandhi is “not just a big picture guy, not just with his head up in the clouds,” but thoughtful and down to earth, working with marginalized communities to address circumstances that impact health, like poverty, work and education.
As a public health trained and board-certified internal medicine specialist, Gandhi was also the director of adult medicine for the Federally Qualified Health Center in Austin. The center serves nearly 20,000 Central Texans who are uninsured and medically underserved, with 70% living below the federal poverty line, according to the release.
“I’m sad that we’re losing him, but I’m very, very proud, grateful that he’s going to be serving our country,” Rogoff told the American-Statesman. “He’s a brilliant individual, compassionate, caring, dynamic, very committed to the welfare of the underserved, passionate about the kids who are separated from their parents at the border — and now we’ll have an opportunity to help rectify that situation.”
Gandhi also recently served as an associate faculty member at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas. He is a Fulbright Scholar, Schweitzer Fellow, National Health Service Corps Scholar and was named a Presidential Leadership Scholar in 2018, according to the release. He completed a dual internal medicine and pediatrics residency at Tulane University in New Orleans and holds a degree in international relations and economics from Tufts University. — Austin American Statesman

Bhavya Lal Appointed Acting NASA Chief

Washington DC: Indian-American Bhavya Lal was on Monday appointed by Nasa as the acting chief of staff of the US space agency.

Lal served as a member of the Biden presidential transition agency review team for the agency and oversaw the agency’s transition under the administration of President Joe Biden.

In a statement, Nasa said Lal brings extensive experience in engineering and space technology, serving as a member of the research staff at the Institute for Defence Analyses Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) from 2005 to 2020.

There, she led analysis of space technology, strategy, and policy for the White House office of science and technology policy and national space council, as well as federal space-oriented organisations, including Nasa, the department of defence, and the intelligence community.

Lal is an active member of the space technology and policy community, having chaired, co-chaired, or served on five high-impact National Academy of Science committees.

She served two consecutive terms on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Federal Advisory committee on commercial remote sensing and was an external council member of Nasa’s Innovative Advanced Concepts Program and the Technology, Innovation and Engineering Advisory committee of the Nasa advisory council.

Before joining STPI, Lal was president of C-STPS LLC, a science and technology policy research and consulting firm. Prior to that, she was the director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Studies at Abt Associates, a global policy research consultancy based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

She co-founded and is co-chair of the policy track of the American Nuclear Society’s annual conference on Nuclear and Emerging Technologies in Space (Nets) and co-organises a seminar series on space history and policy with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

For her many contributions to the space sector, she was nominated and selected to be a corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics, the statement said.