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Deborah L. Birx, MD

Physician, Diplomat, CEO of Armata Pharmaceuticals, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator (2020-2021), Author of Silent Invasion, United States Global AIDS Coordinator (2014-2020), Chief Medical and Scientific Adviser of ActivePure Technology

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 specifically aimed at finding successful therapeutics for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and COVID-19 inform her powerful speeches. Her varied experiences have molded her into a passionate leader and a fierce advocate for women in STEM.

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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!

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.


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. Her experiences have molded her into a passionate leader and a fierce advocate for women in STEM.

Dr. Birx is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Armata Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company based in California that focuses on the development of precisely targeted bacteriophage therapeutics. Dr. Birx also serves as Chief Medical and Scientific Adviser for ActivePure Technology, a company that combats pathogens in the air and on surfaces. She is also Senior Fellow at the George W. Bush Institute.

Dr. Birx served as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator at the height of the pandemic from 2020-2021. In this role, she used complex data integration to drive decision making, providing recommendations to then-Vice President Mike Pence. She also worked closely with state officials across the country to provide state-specific advice and guidance.

Dr. Birx’s book, Silent Invasion: The Untold Story of the Trump Administration, Covid-19, and Preventing the Next Pandemic Before It’s Too Late published in April 2022. She has also 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.


It was an honor and a pleasure to have Dr. Birx join our Executive Roundtable in Naples last year. She shared the science of the coronavirus, pandemic preparation, and mitigation with our members. Her data-centric approach to the recovery was very well-received by our audience. I appreciated how Dr. Birx personalized her insights to engage and encourage insurers to unleash the industry’s private sector capabilities as risk managers as well as employers. I hope our paths cross again in the future.

David A. Sampson, President & CEO at American Property Casualty Insurance Association


Dr. Birx was absolutely fantastic this morning. We are ecstatic that she was part of the program!

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