National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)
José R. Romero, MD, is the Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, where he leads CDC’s efforts to detect, prevent, and respond to vaccine-preventable and respiratory infectious disease threats.
Dr. Romero has been active in public health, basic science, and clinical research for more than three decades. Most recently, Dr. Romero served as the Arkansas Secretary of Health and the Director of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), where he led the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, from 2020-2022. Prior, he was the Chief Medical Officer of the ADH and the Director of the pediatric infectious diseases section at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
Dr. Romero served as the chair of CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, where he provided guidance on the use of COVID-19, influenza, and routine adult and childhood vaccines. He has participated in numerous national advisory committees, including as chair of the United States Poliovirus National Certification Committee and the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.
As a professor and clinician scientist, Dr. Romero has made important contributions to infectious disease science through his work on antivirals, pneumococcal surveillance, enteroviral pathogenesis and disease. He has held faculty appointments at SUNY at Stony Brook, the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), and UAMS, and completed a Minority Medical Faculty Development Program at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He served as the Director of the offices of Latino Health-Related Research and Minority Health Education and Research at UNMC.
Dr. Romero earned his medical degree in 1977 from the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and is board-certified in pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Academy of Pediatrics, Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. Dr. Romero is a member of the American Pediatric Society, Society for Pediatric Research, American Society for Virology, and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. He has authored or co-authored nearly 200 articles, policy statements, and chapters and has received numerous awards for his contributions in education, public health, and community service.