President Joe Biden recently nominated five individuals to fill key roles within his administration – including one Lobo. Robert Otto Valdez is the new nominee for Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE).

The ASPE works as an advisor to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, Valdez will conduct research and evaluation studies, give advice and analysis on economic policy, coordinate the department’s evaluation and more.

Valdez has served in multiple roles at UNM for over 13 years. He was a founding executive director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and is a Professor Emeritus of Family and Community Medicine and Economics

As the executive director of UNM RWJF, Valdez worked towards increasing diversity in health care and health care leadership. He is also the Associate Director of UNM Health Sciences Office of Community Health. In this role, Valdez directs policy analyses and research to improve the quality of care delivered to New Mexicans.

Valdez began his career as a lead child health researcher. His work with health promotion and disease prevention led him to become and internationally recognized health expert. Some of his most noteworthy accomplishments include serving as Chairman of the Board of the Public Health Institute (one of the nation’s largest non-profit public health agencies) and serving as the Board Chair for New Mexico Community Foundation.

Valdez’s main areas of research include health, healthcare economics, insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, health disparities, and economic stratification. According to the Biden Administration these interests, along with his impressive and lengthy resume, make him a great nominee.