HHS Creates New Office To Tackle Environmental Inequities In Health
environmental Health

HHS Creates New Office To Tackle Environmental Inequities In Health


The Office of Environmental Justice will be part of the HHS Office of Climate Change and Health Equity and will be headed by interim director Sharunda Buchanan, who used to work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specializing in environmental health issues like lead exposure. In other news, President Joe Biden has scheduled a meeting today with industry leaders on the infant formula shortage.

Modern Healthcare:
HHS Establishes Environmental Justice Office

The Biden administration established a Department of Health and Human Services office Tuesday to address environmental health issues facing underserved communities. The Office of Environmental Justice will be situated under the HHS Office of Climate Change and Health Equity, which was established in August 2021. The new office will serve as a center for “policy, programming and analysis” and will focus on developing environmental justice initiatives, environmental justice reports and an environmental justice workforce, according to a news release. (Abrams, 5/31)

Health And Human Services Announces New Office Focused On The Environmental Risks To Underserved Communities

The new office will be led by interim director Sharunda Buchanan, a former official at the Centers for Disease Control specializing in environmental health issues like lead exposure. While there are other federal offices, including the White House Council on Environmental Quality, that focus on environmental justice, Buchanan told CNN she hopes the HHS office will bring new resources to communities, especially low incomes communities and communities of color dealing with elevated lead exposure or inadequate waste water treatment. (Nilsen, 5/31)

In updates on the infant formula shortage —

The Hill:
Biden To Hold Virtual Meeting With Executives To Address Baby Formula Shortage 

President Biden is convening a virtual meeting Wednesday of administration officials and industry representatives to discuss the nationwide infant formula shortage, according to the White House.  Biden will virtually host executives from Bubs Australia, Reckitt, Gerber, Perrigo Company, and ByHeart to “to receive updates on their progress in ramping up the supply of formula in the U.S.,” a White House official said.  Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy are also scheduled to attend the event at the White House Wednesday afternoon.  (Chalfant, 6/1)

Australia In Talks With U.S. To Supply Infant Formula 

Australia is in talks with the United States to supply baby food, an Australian government spokesperson said on Wednesday, after the apex U.S. health regulator relaxed its import policy to address a nationwide shortage. Makers of baby food globally are exploring opportunities of supplying to the U.S. after the easing of import norms. Two million cans of formula from the UK are headed to American shores, while Bubs Australia struck a deal with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week to supply 1.25 million cans. (6/1)

In other news from the Biden administration —

CBS News:
“My Brain Is Broken”: Former CIA Analyst Struggling With Havana Syndrome Says She Has Not Received Promised Care 

Despite public assurances of medical care and financial support through congressional legislation for those suffering from the mysterious health condition known as Havana Syndrome, a CBS News investigation has identified more than a dozen current and former government operatives, and in some cases family members, who say the government has not had their back.  “I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to work again. I mean, I’ve lost everything,” former CIA analyst Erika Stith told CBS News as part of a monthslong investigation. (Herridge, 5/31)

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