ATLANTA (AP) — Dr. Julie L. Gerberding has resigned as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will be replaced on an interim basis by a deputy as of Jan. 20, the day President-elect Barack Obama is inaugurated.
Her resignation was announced in an e-mail message to employees on Friday night.
Dr. Gerberding, the first woman to direct the agency, led the C.D.C. through a post-Sept. 11 world of bioterrorism fears and was considered an effective communicator with legislators and the public.
In a November e-mail message to staff members, Dr. Gerberding said she expected that she might leave the post after the Bush administration left office. But colleagues said she had quietly held out hope that she would be allowed to stay on.
A spokesman for the agency, Glen Nowak, said Dr. Gerberding was traveling in Africa on agency business and was not available for comment.
Mr. Nowak said in a prepared statement that the Bush administration, “as part of the transition process,” had requested resignation letters from “a number of senior-level officials, including Dr. Julie Gerberding. This week, the administration accepted Dr. Gerberding’s resignation, effective Jan. 20.”
The agency investigates disease outbreaks, researches the cause and prevalence of health problems, and promotes illness prevention efforts. In a 2007 Harris Poll, the C.D.C. was rated the government agency that does the best job.
Dr. Gerberding is also head of the sister agency to the C.D.C., the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The two have a combined budget of about $8.8 billion and more than 14,000 full-time, part-time and contract employees.
Dr. Gerberding receives a total compensation of $202,200.
Dr. Gerberding, 53, was named director in July 2002. She had been an infectious diseases specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, and joined the disease centers in 1998 to lead a patient safety initiative.
SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS