Walensky Leaving CDC as COVID ‘Emergency’ Winds Down
WASHINGTON — Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who helped guide the nation’s response during the coronavirus pandemic, is stepping down from her position as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Walensky’s departure was confirmed on Friday in a statement issued by the White House. It didn’t say why Walensky was leaving the agency or when she’ll actually depart, though some published reports have her leaving June 30.
An influential scholar whose pioneering research helped advance the national and global response to HIV/AIDS, Walensky has served as director of the CDC since President Joe Biden came into office in January 2021.
Prior to joining the agency, she served as chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital from 2017 to 2020 and professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School from 2012 to 2020.
Walensky’s exit comes days before the federal government is set to end the public health emergency around COVID-19.
In the statement released by the White House, Biden said Walensky “has saved lives with her steadfast and unwavering focus on the health of every American.”
“As director of the CDC, she led a complex organization on the frontlines of a once-in-a-generation pandemic with honesty and integrity. She marshalled our finest scientists and public health experts to turn the tide on the urgent crises we’ve faced,” he said.
Biden closed his statement by saying, “Dr. Walensky leaves CDC a stronger institution, better positioned to confront health threats and protect Americans.
“We have all benefited from her service and dedication to public health, and I wish her the best in her next chapter,” he added.
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