• Eric Knustrom

Meet Your Taskforce

by Lillian Kyle



Governor Abbott held a press conference on April 17th where he revealed his plan to reopen the Texas economy.  A crucial part of the plan involved establishing a Strike Force of nationally recognized medical experts and private and public leaders that will advise the Governor on how to safely and strategically reopen Texas over the coming months. 

James Huffines will lead the advisory strike force and Mike Toomey will serve as Chief Operating Officer. Also, on the team are Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Comptroller Glenn Hegar, all of whom will serve as consulting members. 


In addition, Texas Department of Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, will be appointed as Chief Medical Officer of the strike force with the support of three Chief Medical Advisors: Executive Vice-Chancellor for Health Affairs at the University of Texas System, John Zerwas, MD, Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner and U.S. Medicaid and Medicare Administrator, Mark McLellan, MD, PhD, and Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Dell Medical School and program director for the Internal Medicine Residency, Parker Hudson, MD, MPH. The medical team is tasked with developing a medical architecture to comprehensively test and trace COVID-19 that will eventually enable Texans to slowly and safely return back to work and their normal lives. 


Additionally, the medical team will work alongside a Special Advisory Council of 39 business leaders representing the state’s regions and industries to help businesses strategically reopen while containing the spread of COVID-19. Together they will set statewide standards and appropriate time frames to reopen Texas businesses.  The strike force immediately got to work following the press conference by providing input on potential openings of activities and businesses in Texas. The Governor will hold his next press conference on April 27th to outline a revised plan for Texas based on the team’s recommendations. 

Special Advisory Council members include:

For more information about the Governor's Strike Force to Open Texas, visit the strike force webpage. 

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