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What you should know about Dr. Robert Redfield, the Baltimore resident heading the CDC’s coronavirus effort

A former University of Maryland School of Medicine faculty member and AIDS researcher is the head the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He lives in North Baltimore, and he is receiving a barrage of criticism for the CDC’s delay in implementing widespread testing for the coronavirus.

Dr. Robert Redfield, 58, was named to the post in 2018 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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A Baltimore Sun article quoted Health Secretary Alex Azar praising Redfield for his contribution to advancing the understanding of HIV/AIDS. His most recent work was running a treatment center for HIV and hepatitis C patients that Azar said will prepare Redfield for fighting the opioid epidemic, one of the CDC’s most pressing issues.

But today it is the coronavirus that is the agency’s most pressing issue, and in three days of congressional hearings this week, Redfield was repeatedly pressed on the testing issue.

An Archdiocese of Baltimore publication said that Redfield was a member of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen parish on Charles Street in Homeland and serves as a Eucharistic minister.

Redfield had been a finalist for CDC post in 2002 under the George W. Bush administration.

The Sun’s 2018 article said, “His appointment was met with criticism from people who said his background was mostly in research and that he lacked public health experience. He was also at the center of an experimental and controversial AIDS vaccine in the 1990s."

Redfield, 58, is married to Joyce Hoke, who was a nursing assistant he met when they were delivering babies. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Georgetown University, where he also graduated from its School of Medicine. He began his career in the late 1970s at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and co-founded the Institute on Human Virology at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine in 1996.

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