By Lisa Needham
The Trump administration has named virologist Robert Redfield to run the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—yet another in a long line of inexperienced, dangerous picks. And, worse still, the position doesn’t require confirmation by the U.S. Senate, so there’s no opportunity for a public discussion.
The previous head of the CDC, Brenda Fitzgerald, was found to have invested in tobacco stocks, an odd choice for someone who is supposed to be dedicated to anti-smoking efforts. And at first glance, Redfield doesn’t seem so bad. He’s a virologist and a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He’s done AIDS research for several decades now and heads up programs providing HIV care. But dig a little deeper into his past, and things get very bad, very fast.
Though he has very minimal experience in the administration of public health policy, this isn’t the first time Redfield has helped shape the government’s stance on HIV and AIDS. Under George W. Bush, Redfield was named to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). Back then, he was promoting a long-discredited theory that abstinence-only education was the best way to combat the spread of the disease.
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