Life may lead you down unexpected paths is a saying that may resonate with people that have read about Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who has worked tirelessly to ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S and throughout the world have access to essential health services.
Dr. Walensky completed her Bachelor of Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, her MD at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and her MPH (Masters in Public Health) at the Harvard School of Public Health.
She served as Chief of the Infectious Diseases Division at Massachusetts General Hospital from 2017-2020, as Steve and Deborah Gorlin MGH Research Scholar from 2015-2020, and as an instructor (2001-2012) and subsequently professor (2012-2020) at Harvard Medical School. Her research focused on infectious illnesses and HIV/AIDS policy, which prepared her for her role on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, researching vaccine distribution and methods to reach underprivileged groups. Her latest appointment is as the 19th Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and as the ninth Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (in 2021).
Dr. Walensky is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the American Association of Physicians, and the DHHS Panel on Adult and Adolescent Antiretroviral Guidelines. She is a former chair of the National Institutes of Health's Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council. She has also served as a consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UNAIDS).