CDC’s Anne Schuchat announces retirement weeks after Messonnier's exit

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is losing another top official as Dr. Anne Schuchat, the agency’s deputy director, announced her retirement on Monday, Fox News confirmed. Schuchat, who appeared at one of President Trump’s first COVID-19 briefings, had been with the agency for 33 years. 

Her exit follows that of Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the agency’s former director of the National Center for Immunization and Diseases, whose last day was May 14. Messonnier, who was the official that first warned Americans “disruption to everyday life may be severe” announced earlier this month she would be leaving to pursue work with the nonprofit Skoll Foundation. 

In a statement regarding her own retirement, Schuchat said she has had “extraordinary experiences, both professional and personal” while at the CDC. 

“This summer, I’ll be leaving the agency for a retirement that I hope will allow more time for creative passions,” her statement said. “I will be leaving with the greatest respect and confidence in CDC’s leadership and staff, and the important work we do. I could not be more optimistic about the future of our agency and the prospects for our public health system. After a long and fulfilling career in public health, infectious diseases, and epidemiology, it is time for me to smell some roses.” 

Feb. 11, 2020: Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) speaks during a news conference to give an update on the CDC’s ongoing response to the coronavirus outbreak at the National Press Club in Washington.
( REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

The agency’s current director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said she had “enormous gratitude” for Schuchat’s leadership in her own statement following Schuchat’s. 

“I am especially thankful for her invaluable counsel, assistance and support in my transition into this into this role,” Walensky said. “Anne embodies selfless public service, the pinnacle of scientific and intellectual standards, and has given her heart to our agency and the public health community. I will remain forever grateful that our paths crossed, even for just a short while.” 

Schuchat’s departure comes as the New York Time’s earlier reported a series of changes could be coming under Walensky’s tenure. However, a source at the agency told the news outlet that while surprising, Schuchat’s retirement did not appear to be the result of internal disagreement. 

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