Anne Schuchat has been named the acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the second time in a little more than a year.
Schuchat, a career CDC official and rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service, was put in temporary charge Wednesday, Jan. 31, after CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald resigned in response to the news that she bought tobacco stocks while leading the health agency.
“Dr. Fitzgerald owns certain complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all of her duties as the CDC director,” Health and Human Services Department spokesman Matt Lloyd said. “Due to the nature of these financial interests, Dr. Fitzgerald could not divest from them in a definitive time period.”
Schuchat, who is Jewish and spoke to the AJT’s Jewish Breakfast Club last year, served as acting director last year from January to August, filling the gap between Tom Frieden, who resigned at the start of Donald Trump’s presidency, and Fitzgerald, who had been Georgia’s health commissioner.
The Washington Post reported broad support within the CDC and from the leadership of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health for Schuchat to be considered for the permanent post.
“It is an honor to provide leadership for our nation’s premier public health agency, and all of you, in this role. Please know that I take this responsibility very seriously and care tremendously about our continued excellence and strength,” Schuchat wrote in an email to CDC staffers Feb. 1.