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The Infection Prevention Strategy (TIPS)

Aug 3, 2022

Dr. Deborah Birx was drawn to science from a very young age. Along with her siblings, and with the full support of her parents, Dr. Birx soldered circuit boards, searched for fossils, and recorded measurements of solar eclipses while other kids her age colored and played hopscotch.

Her early scientific exploration led Dr. Birx to study chemistry in college, where she became fascinated by infectious diseases. That fascination led her to medical school, the bedside, the lab, and eventually a 40+ year career as a public health servant.

Throughout her career, Dr. Birx looked to the data for guidance. The data, she tells us, helps you to understand what is going on. From there, Dr. Birx adds, you’ve got to act. First, by planning your response, and second, by implementing your solution in the community. Dr. Birx tells us the second part is often lacking in the U.S. – “sometimes people in public health forget the first word is public and it really means population. And you have to work with everybody in the public and everybody in the population. So, stop making excuses, stop blaming it on people and fix it.”

On this episode, we explore Dr. Birx's path from childhood scientist, to practicing physician, researcher, director of CDC's Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA),  Ambassador-at-Large, and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator as part of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program, and White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator under President Donald Trump (and believe it or not, still much more in-between!).

We also discuss how there are 21st-century tools that are available today that can drastically change our experience with infectious disease and why we are not using them. Dr. Birx tells us “We don't have to accept in the 21st century that we continue to succumb to infectious diseases”.

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Dr. Deborah Birx will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming GBAC Symposium on Air Considerations in Chicago on August 16 and 17, 2022. The Symposium is focused on improving the quality of indoor air in non-healthcare settings. Dr. Birx will talk about that in the context of COVID, and Monkey Pox, outlining effective innovations that are available for use today.