Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Wednesday AIDS researcher Robert Redfield will serve as the new director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. "Dr. Redfield's scientific and clinical background is peerless", Azar said. He also touted Redfield's more recent work running a treatment network for HIV and hepatitis C patients in Baltimore.
While the University of Maryland professor of medicine is widely respected for his clinical work, critics say the 66-year-old virologist and physician has no experience leading a government public health agency and had controversial ideas on HIV testing during the first decade of the AIDS crisis, the Washington Post reported. During presentations, Redfield reportedly described statistically significant decreases in the amount of HIV in the blood of people who received the vaccine, but Redfield was later accused of misrepresenting that data.
One of Redfield's original whistleblowers, former Air Force Lt. Col. Craig Hendrix, told Kaiser Health News this week that he was still skeptical about Redfield's handling of the vaccine research and has chose to speak out publicly. According to the news report, Redfield acknowledged overstating how promising his results were, but later was heard by Hendrix making the same inaccurate representations of the research during a conference.
The Army acknowledged in 1994 that there were accuracy issues with the trials led by Redfield but concluded that it did not constitute misconduct, according to the report. The Army found no evidence of scientific misconduct, but it criticized him for faulty analysis of study data and for an inappropriately close relationship with a conservative lobbying group.
"Let's hope so", said the source, who did not want to be identified. With a resume that includes more than a decade's worth of infectious disease research at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the co-founding of the Institute of Human Virology, and a stint on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, on paper Redfield looks like an ideal candidate to helm the CDC. "We urge the administration not to appoint Dr. Redfield". It is no secret that Redfield is a both a devout Catholic and a long-time supporter of the Republican Party, a combination that has sometimes puts him at odds with his peers in the scientific community and has led him to associate with some organizations of dubious repute, such as the Americans for Sound AIDS Policy (ASAP), which was founded by the virulently anti-LGBT and anti-abortion activists Shepherd and Anita Smith.
Redfield has been outspoken about the role his faith plays in his work and his desire to see the church play a more active role in addressing the HIV epidemic. They said his experience fighting infectious diseases all over the world would serve him well in his new role taking on the challenge of combating an opioid epidemic that killed almost 64,000 people in 2016 alone.
After news of Redfield's impending selection leaked, Sen. In addition to mentioning the Army's investigation, she wrote that she is "concerned by Dr. Redfield's lack of public health expertise and his failure to embrace the science underscoring critical public health work". Fitzgerald, who had previously run Georgia's state health department, was embroiled in unresolved financial conflicts. It was one of many high-profile exits of federal officials during Trump's tenure and came just months after Azar's predecessor, Tom Price, MD, stepped down as HHS secretary amid scrutiny over his travel expenses.
"Furthermore, all of us at HHS are grateful to Dr. Anne Schuchat for her service as Acting Director at CDC, especially during this year's severe flu season".