Brett Giroir

Last updated
Brett P. Giroir
ADM Brett P. Giroir, USPHS.jpg
16th United States Assistant Secretary for Health
Assumed office
February 15, 2018
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Howard Koh
Personal details
Born (1960-11-04) November 4, 1960 (age 58)
Marrero, Louisiana, U.S.
Education Harvard University (AB)
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (MD)
AwardsJohn Harvard Scholar (1979–1982)
Alpha Omega Alpha (1986)
Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service (2008)
Texas A&M University System Award for Innovation (2010)
Texan of the Year Finalist (2012)
Director, Texas Task Force on Infectious Diseases
Chair, Veterans Choice Act Blue Ribbon Panel
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg United States
Branch/serviceUSPHS Commissioned Corps insignia.png USPHS Commissioned Corps
Years of service2018–present
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg Admiral

Brett P. Giroir (born November 4, 1960 in Marrero, Louisiana) is an American physician-scientist who is the current Assistant Secretary for Health [1] and a four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. He assumed his current position on February 15, 2018. On November 15, 2018, President Trump nominated Giroir for appointment to serve the additional role as Representative of the United States on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization. [2] His nomination was sent to the Senate the same day. [3] His nomination was returned to the President on January 3, 2019, with no action. [3] The President renominated him on January 16, 2019. [4]

Marrero, Louisiana Census-designated place in Louisiana, United States

Marrero is a census-designated place (CDP) in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, United States. Marrero is on the south side of the Mississippi River, within the New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 33,141 at the 2010 census.

Assistant Secretary for Health USHHS primary advisor on US public health

The Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) serves as the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services's primary advisor on matters involving the nation's public health and, if serving as an active member in the regular corps, is the highest ranking uniformed officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC). The ASH oversees all matters pertaining to the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS), the main division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for the Secretary as well as provide strategic and policy direction for the PHSCC. The PHS comprises almost all the agency divisions of the HHS as well as the PHSCC, a uniformed service of more than 6,700 health professionals who serve at the HHS, other federal agencies, and/or are assigned details to the armed forces. The ASH is a civilian or a uniformed member of the regular corps and is nominated for appointment by the President. The nominee must also be confirmed by the Senate. The ASH serves a four-year term of office at the pleasure of the President. If the appointee is a serving member of the regular corps, he or she is also appointed as a four-star admiral in the regular corps. The President may also nominate a civilian appointee to also be appointed a direct commission into the regular corps if the nominee so chooses. As such the position of ASH is the only office in the PHS that merits a four-star grade in the regular corps. The Assistant Secretary's office and staff are known as the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH). The current Assistant Secretary for Health is Admiral Brett Giroir.

A four-star rank is the rank of any four-star officer described by the NATO OF-9 code. Four-star officers are often the most senior commanders in the armed services, having ranks such as (full) admiral, (full) general, or air chief marshal. This designation is also used by some armed forces that are not North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) members.


Giroir has led major initiatives for academic institutions, global corporations, and the U.S. Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs. He served as president and CEO of ViraCyte, LLC, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing cellular immunotherapies for severe infections and as senior fellow at the Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute and Strategic Advisor for the Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute (TMCx). He was a member of the Texas Task Force for Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response (charted initially by the Governor to respond to Texas Ebola cases), Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics, Tropical Medicine, and Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Baylor College of Medicine.

Texas Medical Center Business district and neighborhood of Houston in Harris County, Texas, United States

The Texas Medical Center (TMC) is a 2.1-square-mile (5.4 km2) medical district and neighborhood in south-central Houston, Texas, immediately south of the Museum District and west of Texas State Highway 288. Over sixty medical institutions, largely concentrated in a triangular area between Brays Bayou, Rice University, and Hermann Park, are members of the Texas Medical Center Corporation—a non-profit umbrella organization—which constitutes the largest medical complex in the world. The TMC has an extremely high density of clinical facilities for patient care, basic science, and translational research.

Baylor College of Medicine private medical school in Houston, Texas, USA

Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), located in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas, US, is a health sciences university. It includes a medical school, Baylor College of Medicine; the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; the School of Allied Health Sciences; and the National School of Tropical Medicine. The school, located in the middle of the world's largest medical center, is part owner of Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, part of the CHI St. Luke's Health system, and has hospital affiliations with: Harris Health System, Texas Children's Hospital, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Hermann – The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research, Menninger Clinic, the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Children's Hospital of San Antonio.

Giroir chaired the independent Blue Ribbon Panel for the Veterans Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, whose comprehensive assessment and recommendations to reform the Veterans Administration Health System were delivered to Congress and Secretary Robert McDonald on September 1, 2015. He subsequently testified to the full House Committee on Veterans Affairs on October 7, 2015, and communicated priorities for VA reform in the New England Journal of Medicine. [5]

Giroir served as the deputy director, and then a director, of DARPA's Defense Science Office from 2004 to 2008, Vice Chancellor for the Texas A&M University System from 2008 to 2013, and as the chief executive officer of the Texas A&M Health Science Center from 2013 to 2015. He is widely known for leading novel biomedical initiatives within Texas culminating in the 2012 announcement of a public private partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service Biomedical Research and Development Authority to accelerate development and manufacturing of vaccines and therapeutics for pandemic influenza and emerging infectious diseases. This partnership had a $3 billion contract value over 25 years, with an estimated $41 billion in economic impact to Texas.

DARPA agency of the U.S. Department of Defense responsible for the development of new technologies

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is an agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military.

Texas A&M University System

The Texas A&M University System is a state university system in Texas and is one of the state's six independent university systems.

Texas A&M Health Science Center

The Texas A&M Health Science Center, a component of Texas A&M University, offers health professions education in dentistry, medicine, nursing, biomedical sciences, public health, and pharmacy. It was established in 1999 as an independent institution of the Texas A&M University System and received accreditation in December 2002 from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees. The institution merged with Texas A&M University proper on July 12, 2013.

Education and career


Giroir received his A.B. degree in biology from Harvard University, magna cum laude, in 1982. He was the first college graduate in his family. Giroir later earned his M.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 1986, Alpha Omega Alpha, and conducted his residency (1986–1989), chief residency (1989–1990) and fellowship (1990–1991) in pediatrics at the medical center, specifically at Children's Medical Center (Dallas) and Parkland Memorial Hospital. Giroir received his post-doctoral training at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Bruce Beutler, 2011 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine.

Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their physical structure, chemical processes, molecular interactions, physiological mechanisms, development and evolution. Despite the complexity of the science, there are certain unifying concepts that consolidate it into a single, coherent field. Biology recognizes the cell as the basic unit of life, genes as the basic unit of heredity, and evolution as the engine that propels the creation and extinction of species. Living organisms are open systems that survive by transforming energy and decreasing their local entropy to maintain a stable and vital condition defined as homeostasis.

Harvard University private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 15,250 post graduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning, and its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities.

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center is a medical education and biomedical research institution in Dallas, Texas, US. With approximately 14,400 employees and an operating budget of nearly $2.5 billion, UT Southwestern is one of six medical schools in the UT System. It is one of the largest medical schools in the country, annually training about 3,700 medical, graduate, and health professions students, residents, and postdoctoral fellows. Ongoing support from outside sources provides approximately $422.6 million per year to fund more than 5,700 research projects.

UT Southwestern Medical Center

Following his fellowship, Giroir served on the faculty at UT Southwestern (1993–2004), earning the rank of tenured professor. He was the inaugural holder of the Associates First Capital Corporation Distinguished Chair in Pediatrics, and the Kathryne and Gene Bishop Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Care. His administrative positions included Director of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, and Director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Units at Children's Medical Center and Parkland Memorial Hospital. In 2000, Giroir was named the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at UT Southwestern, while taking on the role as the inaugural Chief Medical Officer at Children's Medical Center (Dallas). Giroir led a medical staff of over 750 physicians, and expanded the services of the hospital to better serve the region's burgeoning pediatric population. His research focused on severe life-threatening infectious diseases, including meningococcal disease ("the college meningitis"). Giroir's research was featured on a PBS NOVA entitled "Killer Disease on Campus" [6] which originally aired in 2002. Giroir has published over 85 academic articles, chapters and books on a variety of topics including host-pathogen interactions and novel therapies for life-threatening infectious diseases.

Governmental appointments

Brett Giroir in 2015 Giroir Bio Photo 2015.jpg
Brett Giroir in 2015

Defense Sciences Research Council

Due to his work on life-threatening infectious diseases, and while continuing to serve full-time at UT Southwestern, Giroir accepted membership on the Defense Sciences Research Council (DSRC, 1999–2004), an agile academic and technical assessment council charged with assisting DARPA (The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) in developing novel, world-changing R&D initiatives. Giroir co-chaired or participated in studies related to biological weapons decontamination and universal medial countermeasures to biological threats during his appointment with the DSRC.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

In 2004, Giroir accepted a full-time position at DARPA as Deputy Director of the Defense Sciences Offices (DSO), and then as its Director from 2007 to 2008. Among the most noted programs begun during this time were a comprehensive biodefense thrust known as Accelerating Critical Therapeutics and numerous programs in fundamental mathematics, engineering, and human performance. During Giroir's tenure, the Defense Sciences Office developed the following biodefense programs and other programs related to biosecurity with the goal of developing new technologies and approaches to be transitioned for translation by other agencies:

  • Unconventional Pathogen Countermeasures to develop new approaches to vaccines and treatments for emerging diseases and agents of bioterrorism
  • Rapid Vaccine Assessment to develop an artificial immune system to rapidly test vaccines and avoid lengthy, poorly predictive preclinical trials
  • Predicting Health and Disease to develop pre-symptomatic diagnostics for infectious diseases
  • Radiation Biodosimetry to immediately determine radiation exposure
  • Peak Soldier Performance to explore natural and nutritional mechanisms to maintain warfighter performance, including improving resistance to infectious disease
  • Surviving Blood Loss to extend the "golden hour" of trauma to the "golden six hours" through the creation of new therapies that can temporarily reduce oxygen demand
  • Revolutionizing Prosthetics to develop the first neurally controlled fully functional human arm and hand

Defense Sciences Study Group

Giroir was also selected as a member of the Defense Sciences Study Group, [7] a two-year intensive program to develop emerging leaders in science and technology. He was a member of the External Advisory Board, NASA National Center for Space Biological Technologies (2003–2007), and as the chair on the Chemical and Biological Defense Panel (2009–2010) for the Threat Reduction Advisory Committee (TRAC).

Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response

On October 6, 2014, Governor Rick Perry announced the creation of the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response to assess and enhance the state's existing capabilities to prepare for and respond to pandemic disease such as the Ebola virus. The Governor named Dr. Brett Giroir as director of the task force to lead a team of internationally renowned experts in epidemiology and infectious disease. [8] The task force provided expert, evidence-based assessments, protocols and recommendations related to the Ebola response, and developed a strategic emergency management plan for incident command teams and their partners at the state and local levels of government. This plan will build upon the existing State of Texas Emergency Management Plan, which addresses multiple aspects of preparing for, responding to and recovering from public health and medical crises in the state.

Other appointments

Giroir was appointed by USD-ATL to serve on the Threat Reduction Advisory Committee (TRAC) Chemical and Biological Defense Panel from 2008–2010, and was member of the Department of Defense Chief Scientist Panel for Biodefense from 2004–2008.

He appeared before the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities hearing on Biodefense: Worldwide Threats and Countermeasure Efforts for the Department of Defense in October 2013. [9]

Texas A&M University System

Giroir served as Vice Chancellor for Research (2008–2011), and Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives (2011–2013) and Executive Vice President and CEO of the Texas A&M Health Science Center (2013–2015). He held professor appointments in the Texas A&M College of Medicine and the Dwight Look College of Engineering, and an adjunct professor appointment at The Bush School of Government and Public Service. Giroir's major focus was leading the development of the biotechnology initiatives within the Texas A&M University System and the Biocorridor in Brazos County. [10] In this regard, Giroir was the lead investigator and Program Director for the design, development, and implementation of the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing (NCTM), a first-in-class biopharmaceutical research and development program at Texas A&M University. This program has been acclaimed by many organizations, including the National Academy of Engineering Forum on 21st Century Manufacturing. [11] Giroir was also the Co-Investigator on a Department of Defense sponsored project within the Blue Angel Program to develop and successfully implement the world's most capable plant-made vaccine and therapeutic manufacturing program.

The culmination of these efforts was the award of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Research and Development Authority Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing. Along with two other national centers, the Texas A&M Center will be responsible for supplying 50 million doses of pandemic influenza vaccine in a national emergency, and responding to known and previously unknown biological threats. The Center is responsible for developing and manufacturing medical countermeasures for the Strategic National Stockpile against all chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.

In March 2013, GlaxoSmithKline and The Texas A&M University System announced U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approval of the establishment of an influenza-vaccine manufacturing facility as the anchor of the Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM) in Bryan-College Station, Texas. The announcement was hosted by Governor Rick Perry where he announced that the projected economic impact of this award to the State of Texas was estimated at $41 billion and included nearly 7,000 long term jobs. [12] [13]

Giroir led the transition of this Center to the Texas A&M Health Science Center upon his appointment as Executive Vice President and CEO of the Health Science Center, and recruited Dr. Gerald Parker (then Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Chemical and Biological Defense) as the new Principal Investigator for the Center.

During Giroir's two-years at the Health Science Center, research funding increased by 25% and federal funding by 65%. He led the development of a new strategic plan, formed a long term partnership with Houston Methodist Hospital, and outlined new expansion plans at the Texas Medical Center.

Health Science and Biosecurity Partners, LLC

After resigning from Texas A&M, Giroir founded Health Science and Biosecurity Partners, a consulting firm focused on life science innovation, strategy and investments. The firm serves a diverse portfolio of clients including academia, global corporations, the Federal Government, and life science ventures.

Other appointments

Giroir served on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Cancer Moonshots Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center, the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute at the University of Michigan, the Institute for Patient Safety at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, and was a member of the Board of Directors of Esperance Pharmaceuticals and BioHouston. He served on the Board of Managers for Kalon Biotherapeutics and NASA's National Space Biomedical Research Institute, the Scientific Advisory Board of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University and was a member of the Texas Medical Center Strategic Planning Steering Committee.

He has appeared in the media including CNBC, CNN, Reuters, New York Times, USA Today and BBC World Service Radio.[ citation needed ]


Office of HHS ID Badge.png Badge of the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services
USPHSCC Officer-in-Charge Badge.png Officer-in-Charge Badge
US DoD Outstanding Public Service Award BAR.svg Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service
Public Health Service Regular Corps Ribbon.png Public Health Service Regular Corps Ribbon
USPHS Commissioned Corps Training Ribbon.png Commissioned Corps Training Ribbon

Texas A&M University System Award for Innovation

Alpha Omega Alpha, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

American Heart Association, Lyndon Baines Johnson Research Award

Society for Pediatric Research

Dallas Business Journal, Health Care Hero Award

Society of Critical Care Medicine, "SCCM Annual Scientific Award"

Society of Critical Care Medicine, "Presidential Citation"

Child Magazine, "Ten pediatricians who make a difference"

National High School Debate Champion

National Merit Scholar

John Harvard Scholar

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  1. "President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts". The White House. April 21, 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  2. Ten Nominations and One Withdraw Sent to the Senate
  3. 1 2 PN2647 — Brett P. Giroir — Department of State
  4. PN125 — Brett P. Giroir — Department of State
  5. Reforming the Veterans Health Administration — Beyond Palliation of Symptoms, Brett P. Giroir, M.D., and Gail R. Wilensky, Ph.D. N Engl J Med 2015; 373:1693–1695 October 29, 201 5DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1511438)
  6. NOVA Killer Disease on Campus
  7. Defense Sciences Study Group Archived 2012-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  8. "Gov. Perry Names Dr. Brett Giroir to Lead Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response". Archived from the original on 2014-11-14. Retrieved 2014-11-08.
  9. "House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities hearing on Biodefense: Worldwide Threats and Countermeasure Efforts for the Department of Defense"
  10. "Biotechnology is new breed of business at Texas A&M". Archived from the original on 2012-09-12. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
  11. National Academy of Engineering: 21st Century Manufacturing and Design Forum
  12. dead link Office of Governor – Gov. Perry Announces Major Biopharmaceutical Partnership Archived 2013-06-15 at the Wayback Machine
  13. Houston Chronicle, Community Report, Tuesday, March 26, 2013 "Governor announces biopharmaceutical partnership with GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines"
Political offices
Preceded by
Howard Koh
Assistant Secretary for Health