The principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Anne Schuchat, is retiring from the agency.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced the news Monday, saying Schuchat would be leaving the agency over the summer. The news was first reported by Politico.
“I have enormous gratitude for Dr. Schuchat’s leadership and contributions over three decades, and during this very challenging period for our country. I am especially thankful for her invaluable counsel, assistance and support in my transition into this role,” Walensky said in a statement. “I will remain forever grateful that our paths crossed, even for just a short while.”
Schuchat is the second high-profile official to leave the CDC this month; on May 7, the agency announced Nancy Messonnier, who had led CDC’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, was leaving.
Questions remain about the nature of Messonnier’s departure, with news reports that she’d been stripped of her role as the CDC’s liaison to the Biden administration’s pandemic response task force. But Schuchat’s resignation is being cast as a 33-year-veteran of the agency deciding it was time to move on.
In an interview with STAT, Schuchat said she’d been thinking of retirement for a while, but felt she could not leave the agency during a time of crisis. With increasing numbers of Americans vaccinated against Covid-19 and case rates and deaths in the country falling, she said she felt the right time had arrived.
“I’m pretty much in love with the place,” Schuchat said of the CDC. “I feel so optimistic about CDC’s future and the nation’s public health system that this is the right time for me to move on.”
Schuchat, 61, said she is “looking forward to retirement, not another job” and hopes to develop some hobbies for which she hasn’t had the time during her decades at CDC.