About Speaker Deborah Birx
Keynote Speaker Deborah Birx is a highly respected physician and U.S. diplomat. She focuses on a number of domestic and global health issues such as HIV/AIDS immunology and vaccine research. Deborah now serves as the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Deborah is a Pennsylvania native who took an interest in science from a very early age. She earned her medical degree from Hershey School of Medicine at Penn State University in 1980. She completed a number of fellowships including 2 in clinical immunology in Anthony Fauci‘s lab during the 80’s. Additionally, Deborah was an active duty reserve officer in the U.S. Army beginning in 1980. She retired from active duty in 2008 with the rank of Colonel.
Her speciality in immunology began with research and clinical trials for allergies. Yet this was at the height of the HIV/AIDs crisis in the 80’s and she soon turned her focus full time to combatting the seemingly uncontrollable disease. You see, coronavirus is not the first mysterious illness Deborah has been on the front lines against. She spent over 3 decades leading HIV/AIDs research and clinical trials at Walter Reed Medical Center as well as the National Institutes of Health.
From 1996-2005, Deborah was the Director of the United States Military HIV Research Program. She led the HIV clinical trial of RV 144 which serves as the first evidence of a vaccine that could lower the risk of contracting HIV. Then the CDC came calling. Deborah acted as Director of the CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA) from 2005-2014. Her next call came from then President Barack Obama. Obama named her U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Ambassador at Large in charge of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) from 2014-2020.
Fighting on the front lines of serious diseases like HIV/AIDs and Coronavirus is incredibly admirable. This is Deborah’s life’s work, and it takes moxy. She is an empowering female force in the global health community. She does not shy away from fearful circumstances especially when it means changing global health practices for the better.
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