Merck's Gerberding to Lead Foundation for the National Institutes of Health

Dr. Julie

Dr. Julie L. Gerberding/courtesy

Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, Merck’s chief patient officer and executive vice president of population health and sustainability, is retiring from the company after 12 years. She is taking on the role of CEO of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH). 

“Julie’s accomplishments during her 12 years with Merck will have an impact on our company, our communities and the patients we serve that extends well beyond her tenure with us,” said Robert M. Davis, CEO and president of Merck. “Julie embraced and embodied Merck’s commitment to patients and to our purpose to save and improve lives.” 

He went on to say, “Julie has been instrumental in developing our environmental, social and governance strategy, which will enable Merck to continue our exemplary legacy of being a force for good in the world. I am grateful to her for her leadership and for her many contributions to our company and global health.” 

Gerberding will assume leadership of the FNIH on May 16. She was the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2002 to 2009, the first woman to hold the position. Over her career, she has been included in Forbes Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women in the World, Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year, and was the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s Woman of the Year in 2018.  

Before joining the CDC, Gerberding was a tenured faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She completed her residency there as well as a fellowship in infectious disease and clinical pharmacology. She went on to establish the UCSF Prevention Epicenter at San Francisco General Hospital. She received her undergraduate and MD degrees from Case Western Reserve University and a Masters of Public Health (MPH) from the University of California, Berkeley.  

Gerberding joined Merck in 2010 as President of Merck Vaccines. In her most recent position with Merck, she was responsible for patient engagement, corporate social responsibility, environmental/social/governance and other functions. Previously, she oversaw global public policy and strategic communications for Merck. 

FNIH develops and oversees relationships with public and private institutions in support of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It was established by Congress in 1990 and is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. 

Dr. Steven M. Paul, chairman of the FNIH Board of Directors, said, “The Board sought a visionary, trailblazing leader, and I am tremendously excited we have found that person in Julie Gerberding. The FNIH has generated terrific momentum collaborating with the NIH, other government agencies, and the private sector to deliver breakthrough biomedical research discoveries. Julie’s incredible accomplishments and mix of biomedical and health sciences acumen, strategic outlook, and executive management ability make her the ideal person to lead the Foundation as we urgently seek new ways to prevent and treat disease and improve the quality of people’s lives.” 

Dr. Gerberding stated, “I am delighted and privileged to be the next CEO of the FNIH and appreciate the confidence of the Board and of NIH leadership. I was drawn to the opportunity to lead the Foundation because of its pioneering work to bring together the public and private sectors to improve health outcomes. As we work to emerge from the pandemic, America needs a fully empowered NIH, and NIH needs a fully energized FNIH as its partner. From countering the ongoing threat of SARS-CoV-2 to advancing our knowledge of biomedical science to accelerating the development of better treatments for many serious diseases there is great work to be done. I am excited to begin this journey with colleagues new and old.” 

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