A Timeline of Comings and Goings Related to the HHS Tick-Borne Disease Working Group Over a period of six months, there were a number of personnel changes.

By Dorothy Kupcha Leland

O n November 22, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services named 14 people to serve on the HHS Tick-Borne Disease Working Group. One of them was Dr. Gary Wormser, chief architect of the highly controversial 2006 IDSA Lyme guidelines. This appointment set off howls of protest in the Lyme community. LymeDisease.org filed a letter objecting to Wormser’s appointment, based on his flagrant financial conflicts of interest. Then we started a petition, which gathered more than 10,000 signatures within four days.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) subsequently announced that Wormser had “declined the invitation” to serve on the Working Group. Because a replacement had not yet been named, the panel’s inaugural meetings on December 11–12, 2017, included only 13 members.

After the December meetings, the Working Group put out a call for nominations for federal employees and members of the public to serve on six subject-area subcommittees.

On January 16, 2018, HHS identified which Working Group members would act as co-chairs for various subcommittees.

Dr. Robert Smail Tick-Borne Disease Working Group memberOn January 19, 2018, HHS named Dr. Robert Smith to fill the Working Group seat that was left vacant after Wormser’s departure. Dr. Smith is an infectious disease doctor from Maine. He became co-chair of the Vaccine and Therapeutics Subcommittee.

On February 6, 2018, HHS named 53 members to the various subcommittees.

On March 2, 2018, it was announced that three members of subcommittees had withdrawn, and two replacements were then named.

On March 8, 2018, HHS announced that Working Group member Karen Vanderhoof-Forschner had resigned…….. Join or login below to continue reading.

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