Julie Gerberding MD, MPH ’90 is an infectious disease expert and the former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—the first woman to lead the agency. During her tenure at the CDC, she developed the agency’s patient safety initiatives and other disease prevention programs, as well as its response to the anthrax bioterrorism events of 2001. She served as president of Merck Vaccines from 2010 to 2014. She is currently executive vice president and chief patient officer of strategic communications with Global Public Policy and Population Health at Merck.


On public health and the challenges we face

Science and technology are bringing us unprecedented opportunities to improve access to good health and well-being at the same time global geopolitical and economic forces are creating unprecedented risks. In the short run, the growing demographic divide and slowing global economy mean that governments will have fewer resources to invest in education, social services, and health protection. Innovation, private sector partnerships, and, above all, improved political leadership will be required to ensure progress in toward achieving the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).

“Berkeley moment”

UC Berkeley is such a wonderfully diverse community—one can simultaneously witness a pep rally with the Cal Band in full force, a right-to-life demonstration, a pro-choice demonstration, ‘the naked man,’ and a street singer—all in a 15-minute walk to class.

Theme song while at Berkeley

“We Are the Champions” by Queen: Recognized as the perfect elixir of neuroscience, math, engineering, and cognitive psychology to produce the world’s most perfect ‘sing-along song’; reflects UC Berkeley’s depth and breadth excellence in science and humanities and the multitude of consilient programs that creatively link these disciplines across the campus.


Honoree in the Media:

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