Out Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo has been tapped to replace Dr. Anthony Fauci as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She will be the first openly LGBTQ+ person to take on this role.
“Dr. Marrazzo brings a wealth of leadership experience from leading international clinical trials and translational research, managing a complex organizational budget that includes research funding and mentoring trainees in all stages of professional development,” NIH acting Director Lawrence A. Tabak said in a statement.
Dr. Marrazzo graduated from Jefferson University Medical College in Philadelphia and later received a Master’s in Public Health at the University of Washington. She has become a leading researcher in sexually transmitted diseases. She is leaving the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Division of Infectious Diseases to take on this new role at the NIH.
“For STIs, we need better therapeutics, vaccines, and point-of-care diagnostics,” said David Harvey, director of the National Coalition of STD Directors. “These are all things that Dr. Marrazzo happens to be an absolute expert at, and we’re very excited and hopeful that more resources will be put into these priorities.”
Throughout her career, Dr. Marrazzo has advocated for LGBTQ+ health initiatives. In 1995, she co-founded the Lesbian/Bisexual Women’s Health Study at the University of Washington School. There, she received NIAID funding to investigate STIs among queer women In 2014, she was one of three co-chairs in a panel of experts to develop a framework for achieving an “AIDS-free generation,” and the guidelines were later published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
HIV prevention advocacy organization Prep4All said in a statement, “At a time where infectious disease threats are on the rise globally and preventive and sexual health has come under attack for women and LGBTQ communities around the world, Dr. Marrazzo’s demonstrated commitment to addressing HIV and STIs in marginalized populations will be of enormous value in ensuring that the research needs of vulnerable communities are met.”
Dr. Marrazzo will take on her new position this fall.