Dr. Gail Bolan was appointed Director of CDC's Division of Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention (DSTDP) at the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) in December 2010. She began her public health career in 1982 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer in the Respiratory and Special Pathogens Branch at CDC. She gained international experience with a three month meningitis surveillance project in Burkina Faso, Africa. Following EIS, she completed an infectious disease fellowship that included bench research on the characterization of a Neisseria gonorrhoeae iron-regulating protein that was thought to be a potential vaccine antigen candidate.
In 1987, she began a life-time career in the field of STD prevention and control as Director of the STD Prevention and Control Program at the San Francisco Department of Public Health jointly with an academic appointment in the Department of Medicine at University of California San Francisco Medical School. In 1997, she became the Chief of the STD Control Branch at the California Department of Public Health as well as the Director of the California STD/HIV Prevention Training Center. In these positions, she consistently demonstrated a strong and enthusiastic commitment to the field of STD prevention.
In 2010, Dr. Bolan received the CDC Jack Spencer Award, which honors an individual for a career of exceptional contributions to excellence in STD prevention characterized by outstanding commitment to science-based programs, continuous innovation, and profound commitment to helping people.
Dr. Bolan earned her medical degree from the Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire. She completed her training in internal medicine at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and subspecialty training in infectious diseases at the Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston and the Stanford Medical Center.
Dr. Kenneth G. Castro has served as the Director of Division of Tuberculosis Elimination at CDC since January 1993. In this role, Castro leads the team of technical experts devoted to tuberculosis (TB) elimination efforts in the United States: his division sponsors TB prevention, control, and research activities throughout the nation and other parts of the world.
Since 1995, he has served as co-Chair of the U.S. Federal Tuberculosis Task Force. Recognizing the importance and magnitude of global tuberculosis, Castro has advanced the involvement by the U.S. in global tuberculosis control efforts, serving as an expert advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases. He is a founding member of the global Stop TB Partnership and member of its Coordinating and Executive Boards. Since the 2006 description of extensively drug resistant (XDR) TB, he has provided national and global leadership in the development of a coordinated response to this urgent health problem.
In an unusual distinction afforded to a division director, Castro, who is a Commissioned Corps Officer in the U.S. Public Health Service, was promoted to the flag rank of Assistant Surgeon General (RADM, 0-7), in May 2000. In September 2008, RADM Castro was designated CDC/ATSDR Lead, Commissioned Corps. In this capacity he acts as the Flag representative with oversight for more than 800 Commissioned Officers at CDC/ATSDR.
Prior to serving as Director of CDC’s Division of TB Elimination, Castro worked as the assistant director for TB and HIV, Office of HIV/AIDS at CDC from May to December 1992. He was appointed to the office of the Associate Director of HIV/AIDS to coordinate CDC-wide HIV-associated tuberculosis activities in May 1992, after serving for almost two years as the assistant chief of the epidemiology branch in the Division of HIV/AIDS in the National Center for Infectious Diseases. From July 1989 until August 1990, he served as special assistant to the director for science in the Division of HIV/AIDS. Castro began his career with CDC in 1983 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer with the AIDS Program, where he became a staff medial epidemiologist after completing the EIS training in 1985.
Castro, a physician-scientist trained in epidemiology, has a specialty in internal medicine and subspecialty in infectious diseases. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1974 from the University of Puerto Rico; completed post-graduate biology studies at Northeastern University in Boston in 1976, and received his medical doctorate from the State University of New York at Stony Brook School of Medicine in 1980. Castro went on to complete his internal medicine postgraduate training in 1983 at the residency program in social medicine at the Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. From 1988 until 1989, he continued his education, completing a fellowship in infectious diseases at the Emory University School of Medicine, where his work focused on describing the increase in the number of people with TB and its association with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Since 1988, Castro has served as an adjunct clinical faculty member of the Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory School of Medicine, and at the infectious diseases clinic at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.
An award-winning author of more than 120 scholarly publications, Castro serves as a peer reviewer for numerous scientific journals and is an associate editor for the journals International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and Emerging infectious Diseases. He also maintains memberships in the leading scientific societies in his field.
A native Puerto Rican, Castro speaks fluent Spanish, and has frequently served as advisor to the Puerto Rico Department of Health, the Pan American Health Organization, World Health Organization, and several Ministries of Health in countries where TB and HIV constitute major public health problems. In 2008 Castro was recognized by the Hispanic Officers Advisory Committee, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps with the prestigious Juan Carlos Finlay award.
Dr. Jonathan Mermin is the Director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP), leading CDC’s domestic HIV prevention activities. Prior to starting as the DHAP Director in July 2009, Mermin served as the Director of CDC-Kenya and HHS Public Health Attaché for the U.S. Embassy for three years. He oversaw programs and research involving a broad range of infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and emerging infections. He also was responsible for the coordination of health protection and communication activities across multiple CDC Centers and two field stations.
From 1999 to 2006, Mermin served as the director of CDC-Uganda where he established the CDC program and supervised programmatic, epidemiologic, and administrative activities. In Uganda, he oversaw the collaborative initiation, expansion and evaluation of CDC Uganda’s HIV prevention and care programs, and received numerous awards and commendations for his innovative leadership.
In 1998, Mermin was stationed by CDC in a preventive medicine residency at the California Department of Health Services, Division of Communicable Disease Control. In 1995, he began his career with CDC as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer investigating a typhoid fever epidemic in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks in the United States and abroad. Between 1995 and 1998, he was an internal medicine resident at San Francisco General Hospital, taking care of patients with HIV and other illnesses.
Mermin is an author of more than 100 scientific publications. He is a graduate of Harvard College and of Stanford University School of Medicine, and received his MPH from Emory University. He currently serves as an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.
Dr. John Ward is Director of the Division of Viral Hepatitis at NCHHSTP, CDC. Ward is responsible for planning and directing national and international research, surveillance and public health programs related to viral hepatitis prevention and control.
In addition to his work in viral hepatitis, Ward’s experience includes 14 years in the field of HIV/AIDS conducting early studies of AIDS transmission, natural history and diagnosis, evaluating prevention measures to protect the blood supply and directing national HIV/AIDS surveillance. Ward has also served as Editor of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), CDC’s primary health publication. As Editor, Ward created the Epidemic Information Exchange (Epi-X),a secure, moderated system for public health officials to report and discuss disease outbreaks and other health events.
Ward has authored over 100 scientific publications and recently served as Editor for Silent Victories, a history of public health in the 20th century published in 2007 by Oxford University Press. Ward received his medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham and completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Alabama Hospitals with additional postgraduate training at the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service and the infectious diseases fellowship program at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. He holds a clinical faculty appointment with the Department of Medicine, Emory University.
Dr. Howell Wechsler joined the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) as a health scientist in 1995 and was named Director in November 2005. He supervises the management of DASH's three surveillance systems (Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, School Health Policies and Practices Study, and School Health Profiles); research and evaluation studies; research synthesis reports; development and dissemination of tools to help schools and community programs implement evidence-based policies and practices; and programmatic activities, including funding of, and technical assistance to, state and local education agencies and nongovernmental organizations. In previous DASH positions, Dr. Wechsler has provided technical assistance to CDC's school health surveillance instruments and coordinated projects that promote the implementation of CDC's School Health Guidelines. He is also the lead author of CDC's Guidelines for School Health Programs to Promote Lifelong Healthy Eating and played a leading role in the development of the School Health Index: A Self-Assessment and Planning Guide.
Dr. Wechsler has received a number of professional honors including the William A. Howe Award in 2012, the highest honor from the American School Health Association; the Milton J.E. Senn Award in 2006 from the American Academy of Pediatrics for achievement in the field of school health; the William G. Anderson Award in 2005 from the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance in recognition of meritorious service to the profession of health education, physical education, recreation, and dance; and the Secretary's Award for Innovations in Health from the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in 1991.
Before joining CDC in 1995, Dr. Wechsler served for six years as Project Director of the Washington Heights-Inwood Healthy Heart Program in New York City. This community-based cardiovascular disease prevention program was affiliated with Columbia University, where Dr. Wechsler taught courses in health communications.
Dr. Wechsler earned a doctorate in health education from Teachers College, Columbia University, a master of public health degree from Columbia University, and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He entered the field of public health during his service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire.
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