Presidential appointees come, and presidential appointees go. Recently, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) director resigned for financial conflicts of interest. The new Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, Alex Azar, sought to fill the important public health role as soon as possible. With opioids, the flu, vaccine shortages, and cancer prevention under the purview of the CDC, finding a new director was crucial to continuing the agency’s work. Since many of the CDC’s top officials are often reported on in the news, replacing the director was also essential for public trust in public health.

Azar nominated Robert Redfield, MD, as the 18th director for the CDC and administrator for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Azar wrote in a statement that Redfield “has dedicated his entire life to promoting public health and providing compassionate care to his patients, and we are proud to welcome him as director of the world’s premier epidemiological agency.”

With more than 30 years of medical and public health service, Redfield is a health leader in HIV research, and he’s treated more than 5,000 patients throughout his career. He served on the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, as well as being a past member of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council at the National Institutes of Health.  

ONS works closely with agencies like the CDC to advocate for public health awareness and education for cancer-related issues. Oncology nurses are crucial to the public health conversation. Advocating for patients is just one of many ways ONS members move the need in their hometowns and throughout the United States.