Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH

NEW EXCLUSIVE
  • Former Director of the Center for Disease Control (2021-2023)
  • Former Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Former Professor, Harvard Medical School
  • Chair of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council at the NIH (2014-2015)

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. She is currently current Menschel Fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 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.

 



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Past Hosts Include:
  • Health Care For All
  • Milken Institute
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Harvard University
  • Bloomberg
  • Joint Committee on UNAIDS
  • World Health Organization
  • Aspen Ideas
  • Boston University
  • Northeastern University
Rave Reviews About Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH as a Speaker
The event last night was electrifying, and we are simply so grateful and humbled that Dr. Walensky could join us. She was so gracious, dynamic and engaged. I hope she had a great time!

Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director: Protecting the Public’s Health | The Aspen Institute - Get Sharable Link
Talks & Conversations with Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH
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Leadership in Unprecedented Times

When Dr. ROCHELLE WALENSKY joined the Centers for Disease Control as Director in 2021, she took on the intense challenge of leading the nation – and the world – through one of the direst public health crises in recent memory. With unparalleled tenacity, resilience, and commitment, Dr. Walensky shape ...

When Dr. ROCHELLE WALENSKY joined the Centers for Disease Control as Director in 2021, she took on the intense challenge of leading the nation – and the world – through one of the direst public health crises in recent memory. With unparalleled tenacity, resilience, and commitment, Dr. Walensky shaped the nation’s response to the pandemic, and shares her vision for leadership in this compelling and inspiration talk.

The Future of Public Health

In this talk, former CDC Director Dr. ROCHELLE WALENSKY discusses the domestic and global challenges facing governments, health officials, and leaders working to protect the public health. Having led the CDC during one of the most intense public health crises in recent memory, Dr. Walensky delivers ...

In this talk, former CDC Director Dr. ROCHELLE WALENSKY discusses the domestic and global challenges facing governments, health officials, and leaders working to protect the public health. Having led the CDC during one of the most intense public health crises in recent memory, Dr. Walensky delivers a high-level assessment of the possibility of future pandemics, disease surveillance, environmental health, and more.

The Health Threats of Our Changing Climate

In this compelling talk, Dr. ROCHELLE WALENSKY reveals how our changing climate represents one of the greatest challenges to health for the 21st century. While changing weather patterns and rising temperatures will result in increased risks of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, food insecurity, ...

In this compelling talk, Dr. ROCHELLE WALENSKY reveals how our changing climate represents one of the greatest challenges to health for the 21st century. While changing weather patterns and rising temperatures will result in increased risks of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, food insecurity, and threats to mental health and wellbeing, there is much we can do to prepare. Dr. Walensky shares leading edge ideas for the urgent steps needed to develop effective, long-term, and sustainable climate health action.

Disruptive Innovation in Health Systems

Dr. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, former CDC director, expands on the internal improvements to the CDC’s structures, systems, and processes during her tenure. She delivers insights into healthcare management innovation as well as the implementation of new data collection and reporting processes at scale. ...

Dr. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, former CDC director, expands on the internal improvements to the CDC’s structures, systems, and processes during her tenure. She delivers insights into healthcare management innovation as well as the implementation of new data collection and reporting processes at scale.

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Speaker News
<p><strong>Event Success Story: Dr. Rochelle Walensky inspires healthcare leaders at Health Care for All</strong></p>

Event Success Story: Dr. Rochelle Walensky inspires healthcare leaders at Health Care for All

Former CDC director DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY inspired advocates, community organizers, policymakers, and other healthcare leaders as the speaker for Health Care for All’s For the People event. Dr. Walensky spoke to the importance of community engagement to solve public health crises. The event planner said, “The event last night was electrifying… She was so gracious, dynamic, and engaged.”

Watch Dr. Rochelle Walensky speak at the Aspen Institute >>

Watch Dr. Rochelle Walensky speak at Northeastern University >>

<p><strong>Dr. Rochelle Walensky exemplifies resilience and shares how to keep going even when “Hard Things are Hard” </strong></p>

Dr. Rochelle Walensky exemplifies resilience and shares how to keep going even when “Hard Things are Hard”

During her tenure as Director of the CDC, Dr. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, kept a nameplate on her desk that read “Hard Things are Hard.” Despite the unique challenges of her public position during a time of extreme partisanship, Dr. Walensky led the CDC and the nation through a global crisis, ending the global health emergency for the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr. Walensky’s reorganization of the CDC improved the agency’s accountability and transparency. She served as an honest, future-oriented leader, ordering an examination of the CDC as a response to “scathing criticism” and personal attacks.

On the same day that the World Health organization declared the global public health emergency over, she stepped down from her role as director of the CDC. “I never expected that when I am trying to run to be of aid to somebody, they would be turned off to my very existence,” . Dr. Walensky’s clear roadmap for the CDC continues to have a positive impact on public health, as she turns her attention to what’s next.ultimately uplifting talks, Dr. Walensky shares insights about how to be a transformative leader in difficult circumstances – and how to inspire resilience for yourself, your teams, and your organization to face the challenges ahead.

Watch Dr. Walensky speak to Bloomberg on the future of American public health >>

<p><strong>Lessons in Leadership: Dr. Rochelle Walensky's tenure at the CDC is a profile in transformation and crisis management for the private sector</strong></p>

Lessons in Leadership: Dr. Rochelle Walensky's tenure at the CDC is a profile in transformation and crisis management for the private sector

Former Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Dr. ROCHELLE WALENSKY is now using her experience to revolutionize U.S. best practices in public health. Her appointment to the CDC during the world-changing pandemic set her at the forefront of healthcare system management innovation, and she is ready to use that experience to shape the private sector. In an interview with the Kaiser Family Foundation, she revealed that during her time serving as the CDC’s Director, the number of healthcare facilities able to electronically report data grew from 187 to 23,000. These modernization efforts contributed to her establishment of the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics, which uses data-driven efforts to “forecast and model emerging health threats.” These innovations are responses to Walensky’s sweeping internal review of the CDC’s structures, systems, and processes. By increasing organizational visibility, revamping crisis training, and overhauling communications, Walensky sought to “ensure our science reaches the public in a timely and implementable manner.”

Going forward, Dr. Rochelle Walensky’s ability to revolutionize legacy healthcare systems will be used to consult with major groups in industry settings. Her perspective on healthcare systems and crisis management has been sought by including Boston University, Northeastern University, Bloomberg, Milken Institute, Aspen Ideas, and more.

Watch Dr. Walensky speak on the future of American public health with Bloomberg here >>

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Biography

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the former chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, was named the 19th director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). She graduated high school from Winston Churchill High School in 1987 and in 1991, she received a B.A. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Washington University in St. Louis.

In 1995, Walensky received an M.D. from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and also trained in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1995 to 1998.

She later became a fellow in the Massachusetts General Hospital/Brigham and Women’s Hospital Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program.

In 2001, Walensky earned an MPH in clinical effectiveness from the Harvard School of Public Health.

She 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

Walensky had been on the faculty of Harvard Medical School since 2001, first as an instructor and later worked as a professor.

She was a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School from 2012 to 2020 and served as chief of the division of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital from 2017 to 2020.

Walensky 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 US Department of Health and Human Services Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents since 2011.

Walensky was co-director of the Medical Practice Evaluation Center at Massachusetts General Hospital from 2011-2020.

On December 7, 2020, during the presidential transition, President-elect Joe Biden announced Walensky’s presumptive appointment as CDC director.

As the position of director of the CDC does not require Senate confirmation to take office, Walensky’s tenure at the CDC began on January 20, 2021.

Walensky became the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.