Former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden to Deliver 2017 Commencement Address at Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. (PRNewsfoto/Albert Einstein College of Medi)

Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. (PRNewsfoto/Albert Einstein College of Medicine)

Global health leader and former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., will deliver the keynote address at the 2017 commencement ceremony for Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Frieden, who also led the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, has worked to combat tuberculosis, Ebola, and Zika, reduce tobacco use, and protect and improve health in the United States and around the world.  Einstein’s 59th graduation ceremony will be held Tuesday, May 23 at 3 p.m. at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall.

Tom Frieden is an exceptional physician and public health leader, and a dedicated public servant,” says Steven M. Safyer, M.D., president and CEO of Montefiore Medicine. “His energy, passion and commitment to improving public health are unrivaled. He is the son of a highly respected former Montefiore-Einstein cardiologist, and we are particularly honored to have him as a member of our family.”

“Our students could not have a better role model as they embark on their careers as leaders in transforming healthcare” says Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Einstein and executive vice president and chief academic officer at Montefiore Medicine. “A longtime and dedicated champion for the most vulnerable among us, he embodies the compassion and dedication to our profession that we expect our students will uphold. It is a privilege to have him join us this year.”

Dr. Frieden, a physician trained in internal medicine, infectious diseases, public health, and epidemiology, spent eight years at the helm of the CDC after his appointment in 2009 by President Barack Obama. From the beginning of his tenure, he led the United States’ response to the global H1N1 influenza virus pandemic. Lauded for his calm demeanor, clear communication style, and persistence in pushing for public health improvements, Dr. Frieden is credited with leading the CDC’s work to combat the 2014 Ebola epidemic, accelerating progress addressing drug-resistant infections and opioid use, and preventing strokes, heart attacks, and cancer.

Prior to his CDC leadership, Dr. Frieden served as NYC Health Commissioner. He led former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s controversial push to ban smoking in bars and restaurants, and institute the nation’s first ban on trans fats in chain restaurants. He also focused on smoking cessation campaigns and HIV prevention programs, and designed and launched the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, a global effort to promote tobacco control policies that has so far prevented more than 20 million deaths.

Dr. Frieden, author of more than 250 publications, received medical and public health degrees from Columbia University, and infectious diseases training at Yale University. In his first stint with the CDC from 1990 to 1996, he was an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, then led the agency’s New York City program on tuberculosis control. He later served the CDC as a medical officer in India, where he worked on that nation’s tuberculosis control program, which is credited with saving millions of lives.

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