State and Territorial Health Leaders Commend Nomination of Rahul Gupta for Director of Office of National Drug Control Policy

July 13, 2021

ARLINGTON, VA—The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) commends President Joe Biden’s nomination of Rahul Gupta, MD, MPH, MBA, FACP, to serve as the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Gupta previously served as Commissioner and State Health Officer of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health from 2015-2018. He led the state’s opioid crisis response efforts and launched several public health-related efforts during his time at the agency, such as the Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Birthscore program for high-risk infants. He 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.

“Our nation needs a trusted and articulate public health leader with experience developing and implementing efforts to reduce substance use disorder by coordinating the nation’s drug control policy,” says Michael Fraser, chief executive officer of ASTHO. “His ability to utilize compassion and evidence-based facts to inform, educate, and communicate are important qualities of a leader who is intently focused on protecting the welfare of the public.”

As a member of ASTHO, Gupta worked tirelessly to address the national opioid epidemic and frequently discussed challenges, opportunities, and policy strategies to address the epidemic in West Virginia. He testified before members of Congress about the evolving opioid crisis and, importantly, about strategies to revitalize ONDCP. He also held leadership positions as both the director of the prevention policy committee and as the Region III representative to ASTHO’s Board of Directors.

Gupta completed medical school at the University of Delhi and completed an internship and residency at St. Joseph Hospital with Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. He earned a master’s degree in public health from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and holds a global master’s of business administration degree from the London School of Business and Finance.

ASTHO urges the Senate to swiftly consider and promptly confirm Rahul Gupta to the position of Director of ONDCP.


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and Freely Associated States, and Washington, D.C., as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.