CDC Announces New Director of the Division of Viral Hepatitis

On December 19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named Carolyn Wester, MD, MPH as the permanent Director of the Division of Viral Hepatitis (DVH). Dr. Wester, who has been the Medical Director for HIV, STDs, and Viral Hepatitis at the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) since 2008, will begin serving on January 22, 2019.

The below is a statement from Jonathan Mermin, MD, MPH, RADM, Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS and Director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention:

“Over the last ten years, Dr. Wester has led the daily operations for the TDH section tasked with the prevention and control of HIV, STDs, and viral hepatitis throughout Tennessee. Under her leadership, this section has successfully expanded partnerships and executed cross-program strategic plans. In particular, Dr. Wester launched and expanded the Viral Hepatitis program, integrating it with the HIV/STD section; doubled funding and tripled staff levels; expanded viral hepatitis surveillance, testing, prevention and treatment capacity across the state; and established an HIV/HCV outbreak response plan. Prior to this role, she has held positions as a Research Associate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Director of Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery section at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, and an attending physician at the Rush Center for Women’s Medicine, Chicago.

Dr. Wester has conducted research, serving as the principal investigator or co-investigator of several NIH-funded research studies in Botswana, including a prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV study, the country’s first randomized controlled trial. She has authored or co-authored a myriad of articles and given numerous presentations on HIV, viral hepatitis, STDs, and TB and on such topics as syringe services, women’s and minority health, and opioids. She received her Medical Degree from Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, and a Master of Public Health, Qualitative Methods, from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She holds an adjunct faculty appointment in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Department of Medicine.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Wester to CDC and supporting her as the new permanent Director for DVH. I would like to thank Captain Paul Weidle, PharmD, MPH, Team Lead, Health Services Research-Prevention with Positives Team, DHAP, for his expertise, exceptional work, and commitment to public health as the Acting Director for the Division during the interim period.”

About Kim Rodgers

Kim Rodgers serves as a Communications Specialist at NACCHO. Her work includes promoting local health departments' best practices, as well as partner tools and resources, in infectious disease and preparedness through NACCHO's communications channels, storytelling, and outreach to various audiences.

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