Headshot of Rochelle Walensky
WAPPP Senior Fellow
Former Director, Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Senior Academic Fellow, Petrie-Flom Center at Harvard Law School
Executive Fellow, Harvard Business School
Spring 2024 Hauser Leader, Center for Public Leadership

Former Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Dr. Rochelle Walensky is a renowned expert exploring the challenges and gifts of what it means for leaders, organizations, and the world to protect public health. Dr. Walensky was the chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and served as the 19th director of the CDC and the ninth administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Having received an M.D from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, she also trained in internal medicine and earned an MPH in clinical effectiveness from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2001. In the earliest part of the pandemic, Dr. Walensky served on the front lines, taking care of patients, serving on the Massachusetts General Hospital incident management team, and conducting research on vaccine deliver and strategies to reach underserved communities. Dr. Walensky’s tenure at the CDC began on January 20th, 2021, when she led the nation - and the world - through unprecedented times, facing the largest density of infectious threats likely ever seen in this country.

Dr. Walensky has worked to improve HIV screening and care in South Africa, led health policy initiatives, and researched clinical trial design and evaluation in a variety of settings. She was chair of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council at the National Institutes of Health from 2014 to 2015. She has also been a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents and had been co-director of the Medical Practice Evaluation Center at Massachusetts General Hospital since 2011 before assuming the position of CDC Director. Sought-after for her perspective on public health and crisis management, Dr. Walensky has spoken for groups including Boston University, Northeastern University, Bloomberg, Milken Institute, Aspen Ideas, and more.