By Stacy M. Brown
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who quickly became the face — and, for many, the voice of reason — of the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, announced Monday he would leave government service in December.
Fauci, who has served as chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden and seven other presidents, as well as the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for the past 38 years, said he is ready to “pursue the next chapter” of his career.
“While I am moving on from my current positions, I am not retiring. After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field,” he said in a statement. “I want to use what I have learned as NIAID Director to continue to advance science and public health and to inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders as they help prepare the world to face future infectious disease threats.
Fauci’s career at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases began in the 1980s under the administration of Ronald Reagan. In 2008, President George W. Bush presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Fauci helped America navigate the coronavirus pandemic despite public clashes with President Donald Trump. He also proved instrumental in several other health crises, including HIV/AIDS.
“During my time as Vice President, I worked closely with Dr. Anthony Fauci on the United States’ response to Zika and Ebola,” Biden said in a statement Monday. “I came to know him as a dedicated public servant, and a steady hand with wisdom and insight honed over decades at the forefront of some of our most dangerous and challenging public health crises.
“When it came time to build a team to lead our COVID-19 response – in fact, in one of my first calls as president-elect – I immediately asked Dr. Fauci to extend his service as my chief medical advisor to deal with the COVID-19 crisis our nation faced,” Biden said. “In that role, I’ve been able to call him at any hour of the day for his advice as we’ve tackled this once-in-a-generation pandemic. His commitment to the work is unwavering, and he does it with an unparalleled spirit, energy, and scientific integrity.”