Dr. Redfield, 66, has longstanding ties to various government agencies. He served on two advisory panels for the National Institutes of Health from 2002 to 2006, when Mr. Azar was general counsel and then deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Human services. Dr. Redfield’s high profile on AIDS research and policy matters has made him a perennial candidate for the C.D.C. job. He has been a small donor to Republican Party committees, giving about $2,000 in total.
In 2016, the institute was awarded more than $138 million in five-year grants from the C.D.C. to combat H.I.V./AIDS and other health problems in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia. It also has a substantial portfolio of corporate-sponsored research, whose underwriters have included Aventis, Gilead, Human Genome Sciences, Merck and Schering.
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a Democrat and former lieutenant governor of Maryland, praised Dr. Redfield. “He has a wonderful bedside manner and is loving and devoted to his patients,” said Ms. Townsend, who served on the institute’s board.
Terry Lierman, chairman of the institute’s Board of Advisors, said Dr. Redfield’s work treating H.I.V. patients who were also addicts made him a great choice for the job.
“In particular, Dr. Redfield has much experience in treating addiction as a co-morbidity to H.I.V. and incorporating addiction treatment into a patient’s overall primary care,” Mr. Lierman said. “This appointment is refreshingly not about politics, but about quality, competence and compassion.’’
Medical careers run in Dr. Redfield’s family. Both his parents worked at the National Institutes of Health, and two of his children are doctors. His wife, Joy, is a nurse whom he met while they were delivering babies together.
As the nation’s public health agency, the C.D.C. is charged with controlling disease outbreaks, ensuring the safety of food and water, and helping reduce the leading causes of death, among them heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. The agency has a budget of more than $7.2 billion, and a staff of more than 12,000 employees working in the United States and around the world.