Healio Special Report: Health Care and Politics

Healio Special Report: Health Care and Politics

Perspective from C. Buddy Creech, MD, MPH
Source:

Massachusetts General Hospital. Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH. https://www.massgeneral.org/doctors/17245/rochelle-walensky. Accessed December 7, 2020.

Disclosures: Adalja, Shapiro and Walensky report no relevant financial disclosures.
December 07, 2020
2 min read
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Biden selects Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, as his CDC director

Perspective from C. Buddy Creech, MD, MPH
Source:

Massachusetts General Hospital. Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH. https://www.massgeneral.org/doctors/17245/rochelle-walensky. Accessed December 7, 2020.

Disclosures: Adalja, Shapiro and Walensky report no relevant financial disclosures.
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President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has picked Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, to lead the CDC upon his inauguration on Jan. 20.

Rochelle Walensky

Walensky is the chief of the division of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), as well as a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

According to MGH, Walensky’s research has focused on model-based analyses of the cost-effectiveness of HIV testing, care and prevention strategies that include informing HIV/AIDS policy internationally and domestically.

Walensky serves as the chair of NIH’s Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council, as well as a member of the HHS’ panel on antiretroviral guidelines for adults and adolescents.

Amesh A. Adalja

“I am very enthusiastic and supportive of Dr. Walensky’s selection to be CDC director,” Amesh A. Adalja, MD, FIDSA, FACP, FACEP, senior scholar in the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Healio. “She is well accomplished, extremely intelligent, and evidence-based infectious disease physician. It is critical, at this time, that the CDC — the world’s premier infectious disease agency — be led by an infectious disease physician like Dr. Walensky.”

The Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association issued a statement supporting Biden’s pick to head the agency — a position that does not require senate confirmation.

“In Dr. Walensky, the president-elect has chosen a gifted infectious diseases physician and leader who has demonstrated a deep commitment to the application of public health and science in leading evidence-based, equitable and cost-effective responses to some of the greatest public health challenges our nation faces,” the statement read. “Her contributions to research, policy and practice in understanding, responding to and controlling pandemic threats that include HIV, tuberculosis and now COVID-19 have informed global and domestic efforts that are critical to protecting Americans and advancing global health.”

Walensky is set to replace Robert R. Redfield, MD, who is the current CDC director. Today, Biden announced the appointments or nominations of several other key members of his administration who will have a role in shaping health care policy in the United States and responding to the pandemic.

Eugene Shapiro

“I was happy to see that president-elect Biden chose Dr. Walensky as the new director of the CDC,” Eugene Shapiro, MD, a member of the editorial boards of Infectious Disease News and Infectious Diseases in Children and a professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, told Healio. “While I do not personally know Dr. Walensky, her resume indicates that she is well equipped to lead this important institution. I look forward to seeing her approach to meeting the many challenges that we and the CDC face during this critical time.”