Gillings alumnae join Biden-Harris administration to enhance well-being of Americans, address pandemic inequities

April 20, 2021

Anne Reid

Mayra Alvarez

Two alumnae of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health secured influential positions within the Biden-Harris administration: Anne Reid, MPH ’08, is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) new deputy chief of staff, and Mayra Alvarez, MHA ’05, will serve on the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. Both have had exemplary careers of public service and will bring public health experience that centers health equity to positions within the administration that give them the chance to affect policy, for the COVID-19 pandemic and public health in general, on a national scale.

Reid brings over a decade of experience in government and nonprofit roles to HHS, where she previously served as counselor to the HSS secretary during the Obama-Biden administration. As deputy chief of staff, she joins a diverse and experienced team that will help implement President Biden’s mission to end the COVID-19 pandemic, expand affordable health care and reduce costs, and advance equity. Along with tens of thousands of officials across the agency, she will work to ensure access to health care, support seniors and other vulnerable populations, and conduct research to guide these efforts.

As a member the Biden-Harris transition team, she was responsible for reviewing public health and human services issues within the HHS. Most recently, she worked with nonprofit Co-Equal, providing health policy expertise to support Congressional oversight of the administrative branch, and she previously served as U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) chief of staff. In 2017, she co-founded Concordis: Strategy and Analytics. She also served on the staff of Henry A. Waxman, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and was a legislative analyst for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce during rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

At UNC Gillings, Reid received the Lucy S. Morgan Fellowship Award from the School’s Department of Health Behavior, where she earned a Master of Public Health degree. The fellowship honors the legacy of Morgan, the department’s founder and a leader in promoting diversity in the field.

Alvarez has been working with the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force to develop a range of recommendations to inform U.S. government pandemic response and recovery efforts. The task force was formed by executive order in response to the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on some of the country’s most vulnerable communities and the emergence of disparities in testing, cases, hospitalizations and mortality. Specific areas of focus include equitable allocation of resources and relief funds, outreach to underserved and minority populations, and cultural proficiency. The group was also tasked with making recommendations to improve data collection and use, and address shortfalls in data regarding communities of color.

She is also president of The Children’s Partnership, which advocates on behalf of children to advance health equity. She has held previous government roles at the HHS in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Office of Minority Health and the Office of Health Reform. Prior to that, she worked as a health policy aid for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) when he served as senate minority whip.

As director of public health policy in the Office of Health Policy, Alvarez coordinated effective and timely implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s provisions for public health, prevention and healthcare workforce policy across HHS divisions. She attended the Gillings School to seek a Master of Healthcare Administration degree in the Department of Health Policy and Management and pursue a career in national health policy. A prestigious fellowship brought her to Washington, and a commitment to health equity drove her involvement in the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

These appointments represent an amazing chance for these accomplished alumnae to employ their public health training to the maximum benefit of all, advancing the mission of the Gillings School — to improve public health, promote individual well-being and eliminate health inequities across North Carolina and around the world.

Contact the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at

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