HomeWashington Letter2018 ▶ CDC Director Resigns
CDC Director Resigns

On Jan. 31, 2018, the Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced that the director of the CDC, Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, resigned, due to “certain complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all of her duties as CDC Director.” Dr. Fitzgerald’s resignation follows reporting of purchase of Japan Tobacco stock a month after she took the top CDC post. Prior to this report, Dr. Fitzgerald had drawn scrutiny from Congress and the DHHS due to other financial conflicts of interest, including in other tobacco and drug companies, forcing her to recuse herself from many important decisions within the CDC’s purview.  New Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical industry executive, has taken a hard line on ethics and conflict issues following the resignation of his predecessor Tom Price over his use of private flights for business travel.

The CDC houses and administers the Office of Smoking and Health, the lead public health agency responsible for reducing tobacco use. Anne Schuchat, MD, formerly the CDC’s Principal Deputy Director, will serve as acting CDC director until a new director is named. Dr. Schuchat was director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases from 2006 – 2015.

Last Reviewed: February 2, 2018