Director of CGH Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA):
Deborah Birx, MD
Dr. Deborah Birx is a renowned national and international expert in the field of HIV/AIDS. Beginning her career in 1985 as a trained clinician in immunology, she focused on HIV/AIDS vaccine research and has published over 220 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, authored nearly a dozen chapters in scientific publications, as well as developed and patented vaccines. From 1985-1989 she served as an Assistant Chief of the Hospital Immunology Service at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, earning the U.S. Meritorious Service Medal for her leadership in refining, validating, and standardizing an in vivo test of cell-mediated immunity in HIV-infected patients.
She was also rewarded for her significant contribution to the field with the U.S. Meritorious Service Medal for her extensive work in organizing and implementing the gp160 vaccine therapy efficacy trial from 1990-1995. Through her professionalism and leadership in the field, she progressed to serve as the Director of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (USMHRP) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research from 1996-2005. In this capacity, she led and managed the USMHRP which grew from a budget of $9.6 million and 125 staff located primarily in the U.S. and Thailand, to a budget of approximately $70 million and 900 directly- and indirectly-supported staff in seven countries (U.S., Thailand, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Cameroon, and Nigeria). In October of 2009, the results of the Thai Phase III HIV vaccine clinical trial (RV 144), in which she was significantly involved, were released—representing a significant scientific achievement; which demonstrated that the vaccine regimen was safe and modestly effective in preventing HIV infection. Upon retirement she received the Legion of Merit Award for her groundbreaking research, leadership and management skills.
Since 2005, Dr. Birx has served successfully as the Director of CDC's Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA) in the CDC Center for Global Health (CGH) where she has utilized her leadership qualities, superior technical skills, and infective passion to achieve tremendous public health impact. She manages an annual budget of more than $1.5 billion and is ultimately responsible for all of the agency's global HIV/AIDS activities, including providing oversight to nearly 400 staff at headquarters, over 1,500 staff in the field, and more than 43 country offices in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, and Latin America. CDC DGHA's regional offices and headquarters support an additional 37 countries through technical assistance. Recognized for her distinguished and dedicated commitment to building capacity and strengthening quality laboratory health services and systems in Africa, in March 2011, Dr. Birx received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM). With her specialized knowledge and decades of international experience in the field of HIV/AIDS, coupled with a passion for implementing and enhancing prevention, care, and treatment programs, she promotes CDC's mission and unique strengths through the interagency collaboration in achieving broader U.S. Government global goals.