(CNN)When Dr. Rochelle Walensky began her career at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in the mid-1990s, finding ways to take on the HIV/AIDS epidemic was an urgent medical priority. That challenge motivated Walensky to devote her career to the treatment of infectious diseases.
Get to know Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Biden's CDC director pick
Now, when Walensky becomes the Director of the Centers for Disease Control under President-elect Joe Biden's administration, she'll be inheriting another health crisis.
Biden tapped Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, to lead the CDC, the Biden transition team announced this week.
Walensky will be the third woman to lead the country's premier public health agency -- and during a pivotal time, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cripple the US and vaccinations get underway.
"I began my medical career at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis, and I've spent my life ever since working to research, treat, and combat infectious diseases," she tweeted Monday. "I'm honored to be called to lead the brilliant team at the CDC. We are ready to combat this virus with science and facts."
Walensky has led Massachusetts General Hospital on the front lines of their Covid-19 response since February, when she and her team at the hospital prepared for a surge in coronavirus cases that were, at the time, mostly concentrated on the West Coast.
She shared some of the strategies she and her team implemented in a July webinar with fellow infectious disease experts. These included creating evolving standards of care as the first Covid-19 patients began to arrive, and supporting staff when they had reached their limits.
The choice to appoint Walensky has been celebrated by other infectious disease experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who will stay on as President-elect Joe Biden's chief medical adviser.
Her commitment to science -- and her experience in working on the pandemic front lines -- make her an excellent choice to