Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bush Nominates Gay Physician To Replace Tobias As Global AIDS Coordinator

The Washington Blade is reporting that President Bush has nominated gay physician Mark R. Dybul to be U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, replacing former Eli Lilly CEO Randall Tobias of Indianapolis. The Blade writes:

If the U.S. Senate ratifies his nomination, Dybul would replace pharmaceutical industry executive Randall Tobias as head of a $15 billion program initiated by Bush and approved by Congress to combat AIDS in developing countries, with a focus on Africa. Bush appointed Tobias to another administration post.

"[Dybul] is widely recognized as someone highly qualified for this position," said Carl Schmid, a gay Republican activist who serves as federal affairs director for the AIDS Institute, a national AIDS advocacy group.

Dybul currently serves as acting U.S. global AIDS coordinator and chief medical officer at the State Department.

According to the Blade, if Dybul is confirmed, he would become only the third openly gay person to hold a U.S. ambassador position. President Clinton appointed James Hormel as ambassador to Luxemburg, and Bush appointed in his first term Michael Guest as ambassador to Romania.

Tobias' appointment to the position always struck me as kind of odd. Lilly did absolutely nothing to develop drugs to treat HIVAIDS before, during or after Tobias served as its CEO. But perhaps the administration wanted someone from the pharmaceutical industry who had not profited from HIV/AIDS drugs since part of what the global AIDS coordinator does is help distribute drugs to third-world countries. It appears Dybul might substantively be more qualified for the position, though, than Tobias was.

No comments: