Georgia physician named new CDC director

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HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, on Friday appointed Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, to lead the CDC, making her the 17th director in the agency's history.

Dr. Fitzgerald is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and has practiced medicine for about 30 years. She has served as the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health and state health officer for the last six years.

"Having known Dr. Fitzgerald for many years, I know that she has a deep appreciation and understanding of medicine, public health, policy and leadership — all qualities that will prove vital as she leads the CDC in its work to protect America's health 24/7," said Dr. Price.

Dr. Fitzgerald will replace Anne Schuchat, MD, who has served as the acting CDC director since Jan. 20, when former CDC chief Tom Frieden, MD, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, resigned upon the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

Dr. Frieden told STAT it will be critical for the new director to protect the agency's budget, which has been targeted in cuts proposed by the Trump administration.

"It's good that she has experience running a public health agency," Dr. Frieden said. "If she's willing to listen to the staff and learn from the staff and then to understand that a large part of her role is to support them, yes, she can be very successful."

Dr. Schuchat will reassume her role as the CDC's principal deputy director.

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