CDC Director Rochelle Walensky resigns

Rochelle Walensky, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is leaving the public health agency, the White House announced on Friday.

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In a statement, President Joe Biden said that during her time leading the CDC, Walensky “saved lives with her steadfast and unwavering focus on the health of every American.”

“Dr. Walensky leaves CDC a stronger institution, better positioned to confront health threats and protect Americans,” he said. “We have all benefited from her service and dedication to public health, and I wish her the best in her next chapter.”

Walensky submitted her resignation on Friday, saying that the waning of the COVID-19 pandemic provided a good time for a transition, The Associated Press reported. Officials said she will remain in her role until June 30.

An interim director was not immediately named.

News of Walensky’s resignation came hours after the World Health Organization declared an end to COVID-19 as a global public health emergency, though the agency’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, noted that it was still “a global health threat.” President Joe Biden ended the COVID-19 emergency declaration for the U.S. last month.

Walensky has served as the CDC’s director for just over two years, leading the country’s public health agency as the world grappled with the coronavirus pandemic. From 2017 to 2020, she served as chief of the division of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital. She was a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School from 2012 to 2020.

Walensky previously served as the former Chief of Infectious Diseases at Mass General Hospital and as a professor at Harvard Medical School.

MGH Executive Vice President David Brown provided the following statement to Boston 25 News:

“We would like to express our sincere appreciation and deepest gratitude to Dr. Walensky for her service to our country and her commitment to the health of all Americans. Our colleague and friend, Rochelle answered the call to service during one of the most historic, uncertain, and fearful times in American history and brought not only her ability and expertise, but her warm, caring, and steadfast dedication to those she serves. We offer her our congratulations, our well-wishes, and most importantly, our thanks.”