BCHC Supports Dr. Rahul Gupta’s Nomination as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)

September 2021

September 27, 2021

The Honorable Dick Durbin
Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510      

The Honorable Chuck Grassley
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510                                     

Dear Chairman Durbin and Ranking Member Grassley,

On behalf of the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC), I write to express our strong support for Dr. Rahul Gupta’s nomination as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). BCHC is a forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues. Our members promote and protect the health and safety of nearly 62 million people.

Given the ever-evolving overdose and substance use disorder (SUD) epidemic(s) ranging from prescribed to illicit opioids, fentanyl, and poly-substances, it is critical that the leader of ONDCP take a public health approach to addressing SUD through coordination of our nation’s drug control policy. With a wealth of public health practice experience, including an understanding of local and state public health functions and needs, and a dedication to health equity, Dr. Gupta is an ideal fit for this position.

Dr. Gupta has served at both the local and state level – first as Health Officer and Executive Director of Kanawha-Charleston Health Department in West Virginia and then as Commissioner and State Health Officer of West Virginia. In this capacity, he led the state’s opioid crisis response efforts and launched several public health-related efforts, such as the Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Birthscore program for high-risk infants. Dr. Gupta is currently the Senior Vice President and Chief Medical and Health Officer at the March of Dimes, where he leads public health efforts to improve the health and well-being of moms and babies.

On behalf of the BCHC membership, I respectfully request that the Committee act swiftly to support the nomination of Dr. Rahul Gupta. We thank you both for your continued leadership in seeking ways to address the nation’s substance use disorder and drug overdose crises. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me (juliano@bigcitieshealth.org or 202-557-6507) for further information as you move forward with Dr. Gupta’s nomination.

Sincerely,

Chrissie Juliano, MPP

Executive Director, Big Cities Health Coalition