August 2, 2022


GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to the White House appointments of Robert Fenton as National Monkeypox Response Coordinator and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis as Deputy Coordinator. 

The White House announcement says Fenton and Daskalakis will lead strategy and operations to combat the current MPV outbreak, “including equitably increasing the availability of tests, vaccinations and treatments.”

Fenton has twice served as acting administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, including leading the mass vaccination program for the Biden administration last year. 

Dr. Daskalakis has served as the CDC’s Director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention since November 2020 and has dedicated his medical career to caring for the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV. 

The recent Monkeypox virus (MPV) outbreak has infected at least 3,000 people, with gay, bi and other men who have sex with men making up the majority of early cases. 

Statement from GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis:
“The White House appointments today reflect the seriousness of the monkeypox (MPV) outbreak and should be a call for all appropriate federal and state officials to urgently commit necessary resources to educate the public and counter MPV. We must get more vaccines to vulnerable people, especially sexually active gay and bi men, and accelerate all efforts to inform the public to track, test, treat and contain this virus as quickly as possible. Bob Fenton’s experience shows this can be done. Dr. Demetre Daskalakis is a longtime LGBTQ and HIV health advocate whose work will be critical to ensure the federal government responds to the needs of the medical community and the LGBTQ community in equitable ways.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency in New York State to speed MPV response last week, and New York City Mayor Eric Adams followed suit yesterday. San Francisco Mayor London Breed similarly declared a local public health emergency last week. Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in California last night, saying the state will leverage testing, tracing and community partnerships to ensure those most at risk are the focus for vaccines, treatment and outreach. Governor JB Pritzker declared a public health emergency in Illinois on Monday.

GLAAD’s fact sheet for media covering the MPV outbreak and response: