AUSTIN, Texas, March 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) congratulates newly confirmed Secretary Xavier Becerra of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and pledges its continued support to help end the COVID-19 pandemic and expand access to high-quality health care.

“On behalf of the more than 290,000 licensed nurse practitioners (NPs) in the United States today, AANP congratulates Secretary Becerra,” said Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP, president of AANP. “NPs stand ready to work with Secretary Becerra, HHS and the Biden Administration to address the critical health care issues facing our nation, including expanding access to high-quality health care to diverse populations, encouraging patients to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them, as well as treating the influx of patients who are currently battling this devastating disease.”

A year into the pandemic, NPs remain steadfast in their commitment to patients, working on the front lines, diagnosing and treating thousands with COVID-19 and expanding our nation’s capacity to expedite the administration of vaccinations to people in communities throughout the country.

“We look forward to working with Secretary Becerra and the Administration to strengthen the health of our communities and to ensure health care choice and access for all patients is achieved,” said Jon Fanning, chief executive officer of AANP. “We believe that regardless of race, gender, age or geographic location, patients should have access to comprehensive, high-quality health care — care that NPs provide in more than 1 billion patient visits each year.”

NPs will continue to advocate for the changes needed to combat systemic health disparities — a crisis that has been exacerbated by the pandemic — and to remove barriers that limit patients’ ability to obtain health care from the provider of their choice.

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of the more than 290,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NPs’ patients and other health care consumers. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP represents the interests of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care. To locate an NP in your community, visit For more information about NPs, visit For COVID-19 information from AANP, visit