CDC’s New Director of the Division of STD Prevention

Content From: Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., RADM and Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS, Director, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionPublished: June 16, 20213 min read


Cross-posted from National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

Dr. Leandro Mena
Dr. Leandro Mena

Dear Colleague,

I am delighted to announce that Dr. Leandro Mena has been officially appointed Director of the Division of STD Prevention (DSTDP) in NCHHSTP, and will begin on August 2, 2021. In in this role, Dr. Mena will manage the implementation and evaluation of CDC- supported sexually transmitted infections (STI) prevention programs in the United States.

Dr. Mena is a clinician-researcher and public health advocate with expertise in the prevention and clinical management of STIs and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).  He brings a wealth of experience and has held numerous positions over his 29-year career in the fields of public health and medicine in academia, research, and professional association management.  His interests include understanding the dynamics of STI transmission in racial/ethnic, gender, and sexual minorities, as well as the development and provision of culturally competent quality health services to these populations.

Dr. Mena is the founding chair of the Department of Population Health Science at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) John D. Bower School of Population Health.  Currently he is a Professor of Population Health Science and a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases; and directs the Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education & Policy at the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for Elimination of Health Disparities.  He also serves as the STD Medical Director for the state and is the Medical Director of the Five Points Clinic, Jackson Mississippi’s public STD clinic, and co-founded Open Arms Healthcare Center — Mississippi’s first LGBT clinic.

Throughout his career, Dr. Mena has received numerous awards, as well as published and appeared in several articles including one most recently by the UMMC Department of MedicineExit Disclaimer. In 2018, he received the Diversity Award for Excellence from the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.  He also received the 2016 Achievement Award from the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), in recognition of his work developing a model program of culturally competent HIV prevention and care for Black men who have sex with men. Notably, this program is currently being replicated in other clinics across the country.

Dr. Mena obtained a Doctor in Medicine from the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Ureña in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.  He also completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Louisiana State University Health Science Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Dr. Mena is board certified in Infectious Diseases and is a Fellow in the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

I would like to thank Raul Romaguera, DMD, MPH, Deputy Division Director and Associate Director of the Office of Policy, Planning & External Relations, who has been graciously serving as the Acting DSTDP Director since December 2020. He has led the Division through major data releases, observance days, and funding opportunities during his acting tenure.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Mena as the Director of DSTDP.  I know the NCHHSTP family will support him, as we continue our work to advance health equity and eliminate health disparities among populations disproportionately affected by HIV, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, and other related conditions.

Best regards,

/Jonathan Mermin/
Jonathan H. Mermin, MD, MPH
Rear Admiral and Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS
Director, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention