Biden names Rochelle Walensky as CDC director

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The chief of Infectious Disease at Massachusetts General Hospital would take the reins at a pivotal moment for the CDC.

President-elect Joe R. Biden has named Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, as his nominee to head the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Walensky is currently the chief of the Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. She’s a leading expert on virus testing and treatment and has been on the front lines of COVID-19 pandemic response in Massachusetts, according to the announcement.

What to know about Walensky:

  • Serves as the chair of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council at the National Institute of Health and has been influential in pushing international health policy toward promoting HIV treatment as prevention and other strategies, according to Massachusetts General Hospital.
  • In July, Walensky co-authored an op-ed in The New York Times urging the federal government to distribute the then-new COVID-19 treatment Remdesivir in an even and transparent way.
  • Massachusetts doctors and public health experts expressed their delight over the move on social media and in talking to

Walensky will be replacing current CDC head Robert Redfield, MD, and will be tasked with repairing the agency which some have said was politicized during the COVID-19 pandemic.