Dr. Deborah Birx is Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator of the United States Government activities to combat HIV/AIDS
globally. Ambassador Birx, as the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, oversees the 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 world renowned medical expert and leader in the
field of HIV/AIDS whose three decade-long career has focused on HIV/AIDS 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 the implementation of CDC’s PEPFAR programs around the world.
In 1985, Dr. Birx began her career with the Department of Defense (DoD) as a military trained clinician in immunology, focusing on HIV/AIDS vaccine research. From 1985-1989 she served as an Assistant Chief of the Hospital Immunology Service at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Through her professionalism and leadership in the field, she progressed to serve as the Director of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (USMHRP) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research from 1996-2005. Ambassador Birx helped lead one of the most influential HIV vaccine trials in history (known as RV 144 or the Thai trial), which provided the first supporting evidence of any vaccine’s potential effectiveness in preventing HIV infection. During this time she also rose to the rank of Colonel, bringing together the Navy, Army, and Air Force in a new model of cooperation – increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the U.S. Military’s HIV/AIDS efforts through inter- and intra-agency collaboration. Then Colonel Birx, M.D. was awarded two prestigious U.S. Meritorious Service Medals and the Legion of Merit Award for her groundbreaking research, leadership and management skills during her time at the DOD.
From 2005 through April 2014, Dr. Birx served successfully as the Director of CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA) in the CDC Center for Global Health (CGH) where she utilized her leadership qualities, superior technical skills, and infectious passion to achieve tremendous public health impact. She managed an annual budget of more than $1.5 billion and was responsible for all of the agency’s global HIV/AIDS activities, including providing oversight to more than 400 staff at headquarters, over 1,500 staff in the field, and more than 45 country and regional offices in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, and Latin America. Recognized for her distinguished and dedicated commitment to building local capacity and strengthening quality laboratory health services and systems in Africa, in March 2011, Dr. Birx received a Lifetime
Achievement Award from the African Society for Laboratory Medicine.
Dr. Birx has published over 220 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, authored nearly a dozen chapters in scientific publications, as well as developed and patented vaccines. She received her medical degree from the Hershey School of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University, and beginning in 1980 she trained in internal medicine and basic and clinical immunology at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health. Ambassador Birx is board certified in internal medicine, allergy and immunology, and diagnostic and clinical laboratory immunology.