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Trump Brings in New Science and Health Advisers

A slew of new science and health advisers to President Donald Trump have been confirmed. These confirmations were among the last acts of the outgoing Senate. New congresspeople started work Thursday.

Here's a quick run-down of the agencies that just received new heads.

  • The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy advises the president on a variety of science issues, such as the federal science budget, and how to react to disease epidemics and nuclear accidents. Trump nominated Kelvin Droegemeier, a meteorologist, to direct the office back in July. At the time, scientists familiar with Droegemeier's work expected that he would defend climate science, despite the administration's hostility to the idea that climate change is real and dangerous. The Office of Science and Technology Policy is currently mostly shuttered because of the partial government shutdown and, as of Thursday morning, Droegemeier remained in his home state of Oklahoma, waiting for the weather to clear for him to travel to Washington, D.C., Science reports.
  • The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy coordinates the federal government's anti-addiction efforts. Despite the drug-overdose epidemic America is facing, the office has been without a permanent director since Trump became president. (A previous nominee, Pennsylvania Representative Tom Marino, withdrew after a scandal.) The new head, James Carroll, has been acting director since February. According to his LinkedIn profile, he's a lawyer who has worked in various positions in the Trump and George W. Bush administrations, as well as for the Ford Motor Company.
  • It's a challenging time for the Census Bureau right now. The federal agency is preparing for the 2020 Census, an enormous effort, while dealing with competing pressures over whether to ask those they survey about their citizenship status, sexual orientation, and gender identity—which could affect the Census' accuracy, how voting districts are drawn in the United States, and researchers' understanding of queer Americans. The new bureau director, Steven Dillingham, avoided giving his opinion on the citizenship question during his confirmation hearing last year, saying instead that he would follow whatever the courts decide.