Commencement Speaker – Dr. Tom Frieden

Dr. Tom Frieden

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, the Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will be this year’s HSPH Centennial Commencement Speaker on Thursday, May 29th.

Dr. Frieden became CDC Director in June 2009, and in that role has worked at the national and global levels to control health threats from infectious diseases, respond to emergencies, and battle the leading causes of suffering and death in the United States and around the world.

Prior to becoming Director of the CDC, Dr. Frieden was Commissioner of the New York City Health Department from 2002 to 2009, where he directed the effort that reduced the number of smokers by 350,000, and cut teen smoking by half.  During his tenure, New York City also became the first place in the United States to eliminate trans-fats from restaurants and require certain restaurants to post calorie information prominently. During his tenure, the New York City health department also established the largest community electronic health records project in the country and became a model for expanding their use across the nation.

Immediately upon his arrival as CDC Director in 2009, Dr. Frieden led the nation’s response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.  He also launched the first-ever national paid anti-tobacco media campaign, and prioritized CDC’s efforts to reduce infections in healthcare settings, cutting some life-threatening infections by a third or more.

His efforts as head of the CDC have led to the institution of policies and program that establish more effective responses to disease outbreaks and other health threats at local, state, and global levels; prevent infections from food and in healthcare facilities; reduce smoking, childhood obesity and diabetes; and save the lives of teens and others from car crashes.

On a global level, Dr. Frieden has led the CDC’s efforts to extend life-saving treatment, disease prevention, and infection control in more than 50 countries.

A physician with training in internal medicine, infectious diseases, public health, and epidemiology, Dr. Frieden is an expert in tuberculosis control. Dr. Frieden worked for CDC from 1990 until 2002. He began his career at CDC as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer at the New York City Health Department.

Dr. Frieden graduated from Oberlin College. He received both his medical and master’s of public health degrees from Columbia University and completed infectious disease training at Yale University. He has received many awards and honors and has published more than 200 scientific articles.