Rochelle Walensky to Direct CDC

Rochelle Walensky Speaking at CHDS Event

CHDS’ Affiliated Faculty Rochelle Walensky has been appointed to direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under the incoming Biden/Harris administration. Walensky is a decision scientist and infectious disease specialist, practicing physician and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on model-based analyses of the cost-effectiveness of infectious disease response, particularly in HIV/AIDS testing, care, and prevention. She serves as chair of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council in the National Institutes of Health. She has been instrumental in informing responses to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year.

Walensky has been an integral part of the decision science community at Harvard, spanning nearly 20 years. She earned her MPH from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2001, during which she excelled in the RDS series of decision science courses. She serves as a core member of the Cost-Effectiveness of Preventing AIDS Complications (CEPAC) team, led by Kenneth Freedberg, a long-standing and internationally renowned research group applying decision analytic methods to HIV. She went on to become an independent scholar and is recognized as one of the leading contributors to HIV prevention and treatment policy, locally and globally. In the context of CEPAC, Walensky has collaborated with many CHDS faculty, including Sue J. Goldie in her early years, and Milton Weinstein over a period of two decades.

Milton Weinstein Academic Family Tree

In Spring 2019, Walensky joined CHDS at a reception that honored Weinstein’s esteemed career, where she spoke about the impact of Weinstein’s mentorship during her career. During the celebration, an illustration with Weinstein’s “academic family tree” (see image left) was presented as a retirement gift from Sue J. Goldie and includes Walensky’s connection to colleagues and mentors, as well as founders of decision science (see image right close-up).

Learn more: Watch Walensky answer questions about COVID-19
Learn more: Read the Nature article about the scientific communities collective excitement about Walensky’s new role
Learn more: Explore the CHDS Resource Pack: Diagnostic Tests, Bayes and COVID-19

Related news: Symposium Honoring Dr. Milton C. Weinstein