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HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra Formalizes Health Research Project Agency

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Xavier Becerra, secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, has officially organized the Advanced Research Project Agency for Health to drive innovations in the biomedical discipline.

Becerra appointed Adam Russell, a former program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, to serve as acting deputy director of the new entity that will operate under the National Institutes of Health, HHS said Wednesday.

Russell is currently serving as chief scientist of the University of Maryland’s Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security and will formally assume the ARPA-H leadership role in June.

“ARPA-H will have a singular purpose: to drive breakthroughs in health, including the prevention, detection and treatment of diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes,” said Becerra, an inductee into Executive Mosaic’s Wash100 for 2021.

Public Law 117-103, which was enacted on March 15, authorized the department to establish ARPA-H.

HHS said President Biden intends to appoint a full-time director for the new research agency.