By: Mirandy Li
Villar has worked for public health programs targeting a myriad of diseases, from HIV, to Tuberculosis, to Ebola. Currently, she serves as Chief of Staff for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Many people forget the ‘and prevention’ part, which was added in 1992,” she noted. The CDC stemmed from humble beginnings in 1946, as a wartime program called “Malaria Control in War Areas.” Originally striving to help American soldiers manage malaria in World War II, the CDC now holds a global presence. With its current Global Health Security Agenda, the CDC helps countries that lack advanced public health infrastructure obtain the resources to develop sustainable public health frameworks.
As the CDC continues on “The Road to Zero,” the eradication of Ebola, Villar emphasized the importance of keeping yourself healthy during times of stress. She runs marathons, adding that “I kept running because I would have lost my mind had I not. You have to make sure your own health is in good shape before you take care of other people’s health – eat right, exercise, take care of yourself, make sure you have some fun along the way.”
“We are still learning,” she continued, in regards to Ebola. In times like these, she emphasized the need to communicate clearly and be prepared for anything that gets thrown your way – something to keep in mind when we save the world.