Health Watch USA Logo Frontline Worker Safety in the Age of COVID-19: A Global Perspective

Profile photo of Deborah BirxAmbassador Deborah Birx

Ambassador (Dr.) Birx has dedicated her life to improving the health of others around the world through the development of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines and critically the use and integration of big data to end pandemics around the globe, improve health and prevent disease and promote global health security.

She also served as the WH Coronavirus Response Coordinator bringing together her years of research and development experience in viral diagnostics, molecular epidemiology, therapeutics and vaccine development with her real life experience of program implementation to combat pandemics to the White House to support the Federal response. She also served as Ambassador at Large and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, leading all U.S. Government international HIV/AIDS efforts. Ambassador Birx oversees implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in history, as well as all U.S. Government engagement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Ambassador Birx is a renowned medical expert in the field of immunology and infectious diseases. . For over four decades, her career has focused on immunology, vaccine research, and global health. Since 2005, she has served as Director of the Division of Global HIV/AIDS at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) leading PEPFAR implementation. Birx was awarded the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the African Society for Laboratory Medicine in 2011, in recognition of decades of impassioned support for development of sustainable country-led health systems.

Prior to her work with CDC, Ambassador Birx, a proud Army Veteran, having risen to the rank of Colonel in the US Army, served at the Department of Defense as Director of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. In that role, she led development of the Thai vaccine trial which became the first clinical HIV/AIDS research study to show the potential that a vaccine could protect against HIV.