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Biden picks Harvard professor Rochelle Walensky to serve as CDC director Updated for 2021

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Updated: February 26, 2021

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Monday announced key nominations and appointments of his health team, including Dr. Rochelle Walensky to serve as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Walensky is a leading expert on virus testing, prevention, and treatment. She has been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic response in Massachusetts, serving as Chief of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

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“This trusted and accomplished team of leaders will bring the highest level of integrity, scientific rigor, and crisis-management experience to one of the toughest challenges America has ever faced — getting the pandemic under control so that the American people can get back to work, back to their lives, and back to their loved ones,” said President-elect Joe Biden. 

“This team of world-class medical experts and public servants will be ready on day one to mobilize every resource of the federal government to expand testing and masking, oversee the safe, equitable, and free distribution of treatments and vaccines, re-open schools and businesses safely, lower prescription drug and other health costs and expand affordable health care to all Americans, and rally the country and restore the belief that there is nothing beyond America’s capacity if we do it together.”

Her full profile:

Dr. Rochelle Walensky (Ruh-shell Wool-en-skee) currently serves as Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. An influential scholar whose pioneering research has helped advance the national and global response to HIV/AIDS, Dr. Walensky is one of America’s most respected experts on the value of testing and treatment of deadly viruses.

A practicing infectious diseases physician, Dr. Walensky has been recognized internationally for her work to improve HIV screening and care in South Africa. She is a past Chair of Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council at the National Institutes of Health, Chair-elect of the HIV Medical Association, and has previously served as an advisor to both the World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. Originally from Maryland, Dr. Walensky received her bachelor of arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis, her MD from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and her masters in public health degree from the Harvard School of Public Health.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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