Dr. Rochelle Walensky is stepping down from her position as director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) following the announcement that the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a global health emergency.
Last Friday, the CDC chief announced her intent to depart the agency by the end of June after leading it throughout the COVID-19 response, citing the nation’s progress in coping with the health crisis as her reason. In a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden, Walensky described the transition of the country to greater normalcy while highlighting her tenure as the director throughout the global health crisis, according to a CDC press release.
“The end of the COVID-19 public health emergency marks a tremendous transition for our country, for public health and in my tenure as CDC Director. I took on this role, at your request, with the goal of leaving behind the dark days of the pandemic and moving CDC — and public health — forward into a much better and more trusted place,” Walensky wrote.
“In the process, we saved and improved lives and protected the country and the world from the greatest infectious disease threat we have seen in over 100 years,” she added.
Walensky indicated in an email sent to CDC employees that her final day on the job would be on June 30, CNN has learned. It’s not clear what she plans to do next. An interim director was also not announced.
The 54-year-old Maryland native was previously the chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and the chair of the National Institutes of Health’s Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council. She was also a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, per CNN.
Aside from playing a key role in the Biden administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Walensky also worked through other health crises, including the Ebola outbreaks in Uganda and the mpox outbreak.
Biden released a statement acknowledging Walensky’s efforts in helping the country navigate through the health emergencies. He also wished her luck in her future endeavors.
“Dr. 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 front lines of a once-in-a-generation pandemic with honesty and integrity,” President Biden wrote.
“Dr. Walensky leaves CDC a stronger institution, better position 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 the next chapter.”
Walensky’s resignation came around the same time the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 was no longer a global emergency. It is also worth noting that the U.S. public health emergency declarations will expire on May 11 after recording the lowest death rates due to the virus since the pandemic started in early 2020, The Guardian reported.
Published by Medicaldaily.com