Dr. Jonathan (Jono) Mermin, '98 MPH
The 2014-2015 Distinguished Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Jonathan H. Mermin. Dr. Jonathan H. Mermin is Director of National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prior to earning his MPH in Epidemiology in 1998, he received his MD from Stanford University and completed a residency in Primary Care Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. He joined the CDC in 1995 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer.
Dr. Mermin spent a decade working with the CDC in Africa before he returned to the Atlanta headquarters in 2009. Dr. Mermin’s work in Africa—first in Kenya and then in Uganda—started at the cusp of the HIV epidemic, just prior to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Dr. Mermin conceptualized the idea and led international efforts to develop a standard, evidence-based, basic care package for people with HIV in Africa. In 2003, he implemented the first U.S. Government-funded program that provided antiretroviral therapy to people with HIV outside the United States. And in both Kenya and Uganda, he helped develop a 2-year fellowship program, modeled after the Epidemic Intelligence Service at CDC that trained people in HIV prevention and care at host institutions and developed a cadre of public health leaders.
As the Director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Dr. Mermin worked to refocus CDC’s HIV prevention activities toward “high impact prevention”, which included focusing the lion’s share of resources on four proven effective HIV prevention strategies. This new approach shifted CDC grants to health departments in the 12 cities that cover 44% of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S.
In 2013, Dr. Mermin took on the role of Director of NCHHSTP and has brought a similar outcome-oriented approach to the work of Center; focusing on cost-effectiveness and improved impact. This includes improved access to new highly effective, but expensive viral hepatitis treatments; ensuring effective STD treatment and prevention in the time of healthcare transformation; and invigorating a new approach to latent TB infection. In addition, Dr. Mermin continues to respond to urgent public health issues—he was the only Center Director at CDC to deploy for a month to West Africa for the Ebola epidemic, he is currently overseeing the emergency operations response to a large outbreak of HIV and HCV in rural Indiana, and he is involved in a multi-state drug resistant TB outbreak.
It is for his significant contributions to HIV and other disease prevention that we are recognizing Dr. Jonathan H. Mermin with our Rollins School of Public Health Distinguished Achievement Award.