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 Deborah L. Birx, MD Image

Deborah L. Birx, MD

Physician, Diplomat, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator (2020-2021), United States Global AIDS Coordinator (2014-2020); Chief Medical and Scientific Adviser, ActivePure Technology

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Dr. Deborah Birx is an American physician, diplomat, and leading medical expert known for gracefully navigating complex global health issues with a scientific and data-driven approach. Her unique experiences researching and managing programs aimed at finding successful therapeutics for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and COVID-19 inform her powerful speeches.

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Deborah L. Birx, M.D. is a world-renowned medical expert and leader whose long career has focused on clinical and basic immunology, infectious disease, pandemic preparedness, vaccine research, and global health. Her career began with serving the United States as an Army Colonel, and later turned into running some of the most high-profile and influential programs at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of State.

Most recently, Dr. Birx served as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator where she used complex data integration to drive decision making, providing recommendations to Vice President Michael Pence and working closely with state officials across the country to provide state-specific advice and guidance.

In 2014, Deborah Birx became an Ambassador-at-Large when she assumed the role of the Coordinator of the United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS. As the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, she oversaw the of the $6 billion annual budget U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in history. She also managed all U.S. Government engagement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

Dr. Birx has published over 230 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, authored nearly a dozen chapters in scientific publications, as well as developed and patented vaccines. She received her medical degree from the Hershey School of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University, and trained in internal medicine and basic and clinical immunology at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health.

Speech Topics

Dr. Deborah Birx’s expertise in HIV/AIDS immunology, vaccine research, and global health inform this compelling speech about combating pandemics around the world. She describes her successes with HIV and TB therapeutics and lessons learned along the way. Dr. Birx also describes her recent experience as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator and the many challenges of combatting COVID-19, including the public health disparities laid bare in its wake.

In this impactful speech, Dr. Deborah Birx uses her experience working for three different federal agencies (Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of State) to provide key takeaways for effective leadership with the core lesson that understanding the culture is key to making progress. Dr. Birx also discusses:

  • How to make management changes within the team you have

  • The power of effective listening to frame issues and find solutions

  • How to stay grounded and drive forward working in difficult environments

Dr. Birx is uniquely positioned to speak about ensuring program outcomes and increasing their impact after overseeing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program in 65 countries, which supports HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs. Dr. Birx believes in the use of granular data to increase positive outcomes. These remarks describe using science and data to drive policies and ensure access to services.

In this powerful address, Dr. Birx talks about mentoring women in the workplace, the importance of proactive engagement, and when not to accept “no”–how to find a way or make one!


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