March 2, 2023

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MGH infectious disease head Rochelle Walensky to head CDC

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Rochelle Walensky, the chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, will head the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under President-elect Joe Biden’s administration, according to multiple news outlets.

First reported Sunday evening by Politico, citing two people with knowledge of the decision, Walensky will oversee the health agency that’s been straining to control the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. She is also a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an expert on AIDS and HIV.

In April, Gov. Charlie Baker named Walensky to a 17-member panel charged with coming up with strategies to reopen the economy in phases.

Walensky’s research is focused on “model-based analyses of the cost-effectiveness of HIV testing, care, and prevention strategies to inform HIV/AIDS policy internationally and domestically.” She also serves as chairwoman of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council for the National Institutes of Health and as a member of the US Department of Health and Human Services Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents.

Walensky received the Harvard Medical Young Mentor Award in 2010 and the A. Clifford Barger Mentoring Award in 2016. She received her bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1991, her M.D. from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1995, and a master’s degree of public health from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2001. She trained in Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1995 to 1998 and in Infectious Disease at the MGH/BWH combined fellowship program from 1998 to 2001.