Longtime AIDS researcher Robert Redfield picked to lead CDC

Robert Redfield, MD, a longtime AIDS researcher, was named Wednesday as head of CDC. In a statement, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said that Redfield, 66, 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."...

Robert Redfield, MD, a longtime AIDS researcher, was named Wednesday as head of CDC. In a statement, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said that Redfield, 66, 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 noted Redfield's "peerless" scientific and clinical background and said that during his tenure at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Redfield made "pioneering contributions to advance our understanding of HIV/AIDS." Redfield's more recent work running a treatment network for patients with HIV and hepatitis C in Baltimore will prepare him "to hit the ground running on one of HHS and CDC's top priorities, combating the opioid epidemic," Azar said. Redfield, a professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, heads clinical care and research at the medical school's Institute of Human Virology. In addition, he oversees a program providing care to more than 6,000 patients in the Baltimore-Washington region, and more than 1.3 million patients in Africa and the Caribbean as part of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. While supporters praised Redfield's experience and compassion as a public health physician, critics have pointed to his lack of experience running a governmental public-health agency as well as his once-controversial positions on HIV testing during the first decade of the AIDS crisis. The position of CDC director does not require Senate confirmation, and Redfield is expected to be sworn in soon.