On March 26, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar swore in Dr. Robert Redfield, an accomplished AIDS researcher, as the 18th director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a position that did not require confirmation by the Senate.
“Dr. Redfield has dedicated his entire life to promoting public health and providing compassionate care to his patients, and we are proud to welcome him as director of the world’s premier epidemiological agency,” Azar said in a March 21 statement announcing the selection. “Dr. Redfield’s scientific and clinical background is peerless: As just one example, during his two-decade tenure at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, he made pioneering contributions to advance our understanding of HIV/AIDS. His more recent work running a treatment network in Baltimore for HIV and Hepatitis C patients also prepares him to hit the ground running on one of HHS and CDC’s top priorities, combating the opioid epidemic.”
According to his CDC bio, Redfield served as the founding director of the Department of Retroviral Research within the U.S. Military’s HIV Research Program, and he retired after 20 years of service in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. Following his military service, he co-founded the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology and served as the Chief of Infectious Diseases and Vice Chair of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The selection of Redfield generated mixed reactions, with supporters noting his strong scientific accomplishments, while detractors questioned some of his public health views.
Redfield fills the position that was made vacant when Brenda Fitzgerald resigned as CDC director after reports revealed that she held investments in the tobacco industry.
You can follow Redfield on Twitter at @CDCDirector.