The 100 Most Influential People of 2021
Stefani Reynolds—The New York Times/Redux
By Julie Gerberding
September 15, 2021 7:16 AM EDT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is not the first time that U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has served on the front lines of a daunting public-health challenge. Positions like her role as a Harvard University clinician-investigator have contributed to a career punctuated by numerous important research contributions to controlling HIV infection, a long-standing threat to people across our nation. Dr. Walensky’s calm courage and proven track record of respecting science—the essential foundation of good public policy—are restoring the CDC’s prominence in leading us through this pandemic. The breadth of her experience and commitment to health equity will no doubt translate to effective leadership in addressing the broader enduring health challenges we face.

Gerberding is an executive vice president at Merck and a former director of the CDC

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