NIH Selects Successor to Fauci

Jeanne Marrazzo, known for her work on sexually transmitted infections, will start job in the fall
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2023 7:25 PM CDT
NIH Selects Successor to Fauci
This July 2021 image provided by UAB Photo shows Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, a research scientist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.   (Lexi Coon/UAB Photo via AP)

A research scientist in Alabama will become the nation's top infectious disease expert, succeeding Dr. Anthony Fauci. The National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday that Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo will run the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, CNN reports, beginning in the fall. Marrazzo's responsibilities will include overseeing the agency's research, response to infectious disease outbreaks, and $6.3 billion budget, per the AP. Her current job is director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The choice was praised by Fauci, who retired in December after almost 40 years in the post.

"She's a really good person. I think she's going to do a really good job," said Fauci, 82, who said he was not involved in her selection. He pointed out some of the challenges Marrazzo will face. "What she's facing now is going to be a very complicated issue of a number of emerging diseases, a high degree of advanced technology that is really an important part of the research effort on infectious diseases," Fauci said. He's also a voice of experience on another way she'll be tested. Marrazzo is stepping into "a very divisive political setting," Fauci said, "where there's been an unfortunate politicization of some of the science."

Marrazzo has made her mark for her work in preventing sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, per CNN. David C. Harvey of the National Coalition of STD Directors said in a statement that her appointment ensures that sexually transmitted infections "will be taken seriously in the national policy environment," per the Washington Post. "She's a remarkable physician, researcher and advocate," said Dr. Carlos del Rio, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. A colleague in Alabama also pointed out that Marrazzo will face hate speech and personal attacks but added: "She's got a tough skin. I think she'll be able to manage it well." Marrazzo did not immediately comment. (More National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases stories.)

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