She led the nation's response to the anthrax attacks in the tense months after Sept. 11 as acting deputy director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases. For the past four years, infectious disease expert Julie Gerberding has been leading broader efforts to fight bioterrorism, among her many responsibilities as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, with a national and global focus on readiness for a potential avian flu pandemic, Gerberding, 50, can be expected to take an even higher-profile role in the years ahead.
At the time of her appointment, health officials saw Gerberding's most significant challenge as balancing that effort with the CDC's traditional commitment to disease prevention. "Her training in infectious disease and experience under fire will allow her to be a great director," said James Cur-ran, dean of Emory University's Rollins School of
Public Health and a former AIDS chief for the CDC.
Whether focusing on bioterrorism or other priorities like severe acute
respiratory syndrome and avian flu, Gerberding has attempted to build on
what she called the "golden triangle" of response: clinicians and laboratory
workers; local public health officials; hospitals and health plans.