A press statement from the National Coalition of STD Directors
For Immediate Release: June 16, 2021
Contact: Kathleen Jeanty, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-610-5424
Washington, D.C. –The National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) congratulates Dr. Leandro Mena for becoming the new division director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of STD Prevention (DSTDP). Dr. Mena brings a wealth of public health, clinical, and research experience to DSTDP and we are confident that his leadership at CDC will help to improve the sexual health of Americans.
Dr. Mena joins CDC at a pivotal time for the STD field. With new funding recently announced to double the number of Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS) in the U.S. and expand the role of STD clinics under the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, now is the time for bold leadership at DSTDP. The U.S. has experienced six consecutive years of record-high numbers of STDs, disproportionately impacting communities of color, gay and bisexual men, and young people. To lower STDs, CDC will need innovative approaches and a new level of collaboration with state, local, and territorial STD programs to better serve people in their communities.
“Dr. Leandro Mena is an exceptional choice,” says David C. Harvey, NCSD executive director. “As a clinician-researcher and public health advocate, Dr. Mena will be a very important leader at CDC and a crucial partner to NCSD. On behalf of the NCSD board of directors, NCSD looks forward to working closely with him,” Harvey adds.
Among many academic appointments and leadership positions, Dr. Mena most recently served as the STD medical director for the Mississippi Department of Health. He is also the founder of the School of Population Health at the University of Mississippi, established Mississippi’s first LGBT clinic (Open Arms Healthcare Center), and served as the medical director of Jackson’s public health STD clinic. NCSD worked closely with Dr. Mena on the writing of the Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) Standards of Care, a widely disseminated publication.
“Dr. Mena’s career has always included a focus on health equity for racial minorities and LGBTQ populations—this will serve him well in this new role,” says Kathleen Jeanty, NCSD director of communications. “As we continue to confront the out-of-control STD epidemics, we look forward to working with Dr. Mena on implementing the first-ever STI National Strategic Plan and sustaining the expansion of DIS funding, among other priorities,” Jeanty says.
NCSD is a national public health membership organization representing health department STD directors, their support staff, and community-based partners across 50 states, seven large cities, and eight U.S. territories. Our mission is to advance effective STD prevention programs and services across the country. NCSD does this as the voice of our membership. We provide leadership, build capacity, convene partners, and advocate. Go to ncsddc.org for more information.