Following Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s resignation Friday afternoon, the White House has announced President Donald Trump is naming Don Wright to serve as the acting head of the agency.
Wright will take over “effective at 11:59 p.m.” Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
In February, Wright was tapped as the acting assistant secretary for health at the department, in charge of developing “HHS-wide public health policy recommendations” and overseeing “12 core public health offices – including the Office of the Surgeon General – and 11 advisory committees,” according to HHS.
Wright has also served as director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion since January 2012, an HHS biography says. In that role, he has led a framework for public health priorities, including a comprehensive set of 10-year national health objectives, and has overseen the development of evidence-based health policies, such as federal dietary and physical activity guidelines for Americans.
Former President George W. Bush tapped Wright as the alternate US delegate to the World Health Organization Executive Board from 2007 to 2009.
Previously, Wright was director of the Office of Occupational Medicine for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, providing medical, toxicologic, and epidemiologic support to agency staff, his biography states.
Wright has a medical degree from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in public health from the Medical College of Wisconsin. He was a clinician for 15 years at a practice in central Texas and is board-certified in both family medicine and preventive medicine, the biography says.
President Donald Trump accepted Price’s resignation on Friday after the former Georgia congressman was widely criticized for his use of taxpayer-funded private charter planes.
“I have spent forty years both as a doctor and public servant putting people first,” Price wrote in his resignation letter to the President. “I regret that the recent events have created a distraction from these important objectives.”