January 21, 2021

Researcher and Physician Rochelle Walensky Nominated for CDC Director

Last week, the incoming Biden-Harris administration announced the nomination of Dr. Rochelle Walensky for director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Walensky is a practicing physician, currently chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Walensky’s experience with prior global health crises led to her appointment in early 2020 to the COVID-19 Advisory Board for Massachusetts. In this capacity, she helped coordinate the state’s pandemic response. Since then, she has published research on the safe reopening of college campuses and improving vaccine efficiency.

Dr. Walensky is known for her HIV/AIDS research and advocacy—particularly for using model-based analyses to find cost-effective HIV testing, care, and prevention strategies applicable to both domestic and international HIV/AIDS policy. She has chaired the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council at the National Institutes for Health, served as an advisor to the World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, and is a member of the U.S. Health Department’s Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents.

More information about Dr. Walensky can be found on the website of Massachusetts General Hospital and in a profile published in The Lancet. President Biden’s picks for other top health-related positions include California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for Secretary of Health and Human Services and Dr. Vivek Murthy as Surgeon General, who held the same position under Barack Obama.