The State Department on Friday appointed an official to directly oversee the agencys response to the mysterious attacks on American officials abroad called Havana Syndrome, which has affected dozens of individuals causing a range of symptoms and debilitating injuries including brain damage.

Pamela Spratlen, former U.S. ambassador to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan will serve as senior advisor to the department’s Health Incident Response Task Force (HIRTF) and will have access directly to the secretary of State and senior leadership.

The task force formed in 2018 in the wake of multiple reports of diplomats and U.S. personnel suffering unexplained health incidents at postings abroad, including in Cuba, Russia and China.

The selection of Ambassador Spratlen will help us make strides to address this issue wherever it affects Department personnel and their families, Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenJapanese prime minister expected to be Biden’s first foreign visit at White HouseBiden to commit to working with ‘Quad’ countries to expand vaccine accessChinese lawmakers back move to tighten grip on Hong KongMORE said in a statement. She will streamline our coordination efforts with the interagency community, and reaffirm our commitment to make certain that those affected receive the care and treatment they need.

Spratlen most recently served as senior advisor of the Office of Inspector General in the inspections division.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that in addition to Spratlens appointment, the State Department has in place an individual on the HIRTF who is responsible solely for engaging with those who may have been victims of the unexplained health incidents, but he did not provide a name.

There have been, now, several countries where these incidents have been reported, we are seeking a full accounting of all of those who may have been affected by these incidents. That will be a large part of Ambassador Spratlens role, is to ensure that we know the full extent of these incidents, Price said.

He added that Blinken has received numerous briefings on the incidents during the transition between the Trump administration and the Biden administration, while he was secretary-designate, on his first full day in the position and during additional comprehensive briefings.

Yet the secretary, in a hearing before lawmakers on Wednesday, said that the agency could not assign blame to any entity, individual or country behind the attacks but committed to a whole of government approach to addressing them.

Some 40 government officials have been hit by the attacks, which were first reported in late 2016 and which a government-funded report by the National Academy of Sciences determined was most likely caused by microwave radiation, with effects ranging from vertigo to insomnia to brain trauma.

The CIA in December stood up its own task force to address the attacks, designed to ensure a team would be in place to provide support to CIA individuals who may have been affected or face a similar attack in the future.

CIA is working alongside other government agencies to double down on our efforts to find answers regarding the unexplained global health incidents that have impacted personnel. The agencys top priority has been and continues to be the well-being of all of our officers, CIA press secretary Timothy Barrett said in an email.

Rebecca Beitsch contributed to this report.