Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will take over as acting head of the agency on Friday.
The CDC confirmed Thursday that Schuchat will succeed outgoing director Dr. Tom Frieden, who will resign once President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated, as is customary.
Schuchat has been with the CDC since 1988 and has served in her current role since 2015. From 2006 to 2015, Schuchat headed the CDC's National Center of Immunization and Respiratory Diseases and led the agency's response during 2009's H1N1 influenza pandemic.
Schuchat will remain as director until a replacement is named by the incoming HHS secretary. Trump's pick, Rep. Tom Price, (R-Ga.), is scheduled to sit before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday.
In a recent interview with Modern Healthcare, Frieden said he was keeping his options open in terms of what he might do next.
“I've always made career decisions based on one simple question—how can I save the most lives,” Frieden said. “That's the question I'll ask going forward.”
Whoever becomes the new permanent director of the CDC could face some tough funding challenges if Republican lawmakers are successful in repealing the Affordable Care Act. President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform law also funds 12% of the CDC's budget.
It is a main funding source for state public health departments to pay for prevention efforts against a whole host of public health threats that range from chronic diseases and infectious disease outbreaks to the ongoing opioid drug crisis.
But the funding has been a prime target of GOP lawmakers since its creation. In 2012, Congress cut the budget by more than $6 billion over nine years to avoid reducing Medicare physician payments. More recently, lawmakers included a provision with the 21st Century Cures Act that passed last month to cut $3.5 billion from the program over the next 10 years.
A recent analysis conducted by Trust for America's Health estimated states stand to lose more than $3 billion in grants and programs supported by the CDC over the next five years if the ACA is repealed.