Dr. Karen Hacker will leave her position as head of the Allegheny County Health Department for a leadership role with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, county officials said Friday.
“It is something that all of us can be proud of – that one of ours is going to be doing extraordinary things for public health on a national level,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
Hacker, 63, will become the director of the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, county officials said. Her last day with the health department will be July 31.
Fitzgerald said Hacker being tapped for the position is “further recognition of the acclaim and prestige she has brought to Allegheny County.”
She began working for the health department in May 2013 and became director that September. She has headed the department through the ongoing opioid crisis; high lead levels in drinking water; air quality issues, particularly in the Mon Valley; and, most recently, a measles outbreak in the county.
Earlier this month, Hacker received the Seeds of Hope Award from opioid recovery group POWER Recovery for her work fighting the overdose epidemic. That work has included a standing order for naloxone, which made the overdose-reversal drug available without a prescription.