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Vice President Mike Pence adds Central PA native to his Coronavirus Task Force

Dr. Deborah Birx, who graduated from Carlisle High School in the 1970s, has been a leading force in the global fight against AIDs for more than 30 years
Credit: AP
Ambassador at Large and Coordinator of the U.S. Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS, Dr. Deborah L. Birx testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 6, 2015.

CARLISLE, Pa. — Vice President Mike Pence has added a Central Pennsylvania native to his team to battle the spread of Coronavirus, the White House announced Friday.

Ambassador Debbie Birx will join Pence's team as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, the announcement said.

Birx graduated from Carlisle High School and earned her medical degree from the Penn State College of Medicine. 

The White House calles Birx "a world-renowned global health official and physician" and touts her three decades of public health experience, focused mainly in HIV/AIDs immunology, vaccine research, and global health.

"She has developed and patented vaccines, including leading one of the most influential HIV vaccine trials in history," the White House announcement said. "Three different administrations across both political parties have relied on her knowledge and judgement."

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Birx will continue to oversee the fight against HIV/AIDs, but her "interagency expertise and coordination that brought ground-breaking progress to the HIV/AIDs pandemic" is what makes her a value asset in White House's Coronavirus response, the announcement said.

Birx has previously coordinated the Army, Navy, and Air Force in their HIV/AIDS efforts and led the CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS, Center for Global Health, and their global implementation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief program.

She joins a task force led by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and will report to Pence.