The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Friday she is stepping down from that position effective June 30.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who along with Dr. Anthony Fauci, was one of the faces of U.S. President Joe Biden’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, reportedly announced she was stepping down at a CDC staff meeting.
Biden confirmed the announcement in a statement Friday praising Walensky for saving lives through “her steadfast and unwavering focus on the health of every American.” Biden said Walensky, as CDC director, “led a complex organization on the front lines of a once-in-a-generation pandemic with honesty and integrity.”
Biden said she leaves the CDC “a stronger institution, better positioned to confront health threats and protect Americans. We have all benefited from her service.”
The Associated Press reports, citing CDC sources, that Walensky, in a resignation letter to Biden, expressed “mixed feelings” about the decision to leave and while she did not give a specific reason, said she felt the U.S. is at a moment of transition as emergency declarations come to an end.
Walensky wrote of her time at the CDC, “I have never been prouder of anything I have done in my professional career.”
Walensky began her job at the CDC shortly after Biden took office in January 2021. She came to the position from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where she served as chief of the Infectious Diseases Division. She also was a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press.