Health Equity Champion

Carlos del Rio

CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) recognizes Carlos del Rio, MD as the Winter 2021 Health Equity Champion.

Carlos del Rio, MD is the Leon L. Haley, Jr MD Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Emory University School of Medicine and Executive Associate Dean for Emory at Grady. He is also Professor of Global Health and Professor of Epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health. He is co-Director of the Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and co-PI of the Emory-CDC HIV Clinical Trials Unit and the Emory Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit.

Dr. del Rio’s research focuses on the early diagnosis, access to care, engagement in care, compliance with antiretrovirals and the prevention of HIV infection. Dr. del Rio has worked for over two decades in hospitals and clinics with marginalized populations including persons who use drugs, to improve outcomes of those infected with HIV and to prevent infection with those at risk. Dr. del Rio was a member of the WHO Influenza A(H1N1) Clinical Advisory Group and of the CDC Influenza A(H1N1) Task Force during the 2009 pandemic. During the COVID-19 pandemic Dr. del Rio has been a leader locally and nationally, doing research, developing policies, writing scientific publications and making countless media appearances. He has been an advisor on COVID-19 issues to the Mayor of Atlanta, as well as many corporations and non-profits. His work prioritizes science and highlights the importance of focusing on addressing health disparities. His work with marginalized populations to improve clinical care and outcomes has not only been in the U.S. and in his native country of Mexico, but has also taken him to Ethiopia, Kenya, the country of Georgia, Vietnam and Thailand where he has conducted research and built research capacity by providing training opportunities to promising young investigators.

Among his many honors are the James H. Nakano Citation received in 2001 and awarded by the CDC for an outstanding scientific paper published in 2000; the Emory University Marion V. Creekmore Achievement Award for Internationalization; the Thomas Jefferson Award from Emory University, the highest award conferred by Emory to a faculty or staff member for service to the University, the Ohtli Award by the Government of Mexico for work that benefits communities of Mexican origin living in the U.S., the APHA Award for Excellence in Public Health, and the Bill Foege Global Health Award. In 2021 he was named by the Carnegie Corporation of New York as a “Great American, Great Immigrant”. Dr. del Rio was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2013 and is the International Secretary of the Academy.

Page last reviewed: January 14, 2022