The city of Portland has named a new public health director, who will start in the role this summer after relocating to Maine from Mozambique.
Dr. Alfredo Vergara currently works for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as its country director in Mozambique as well as director of its Global HIV Division and TB Program. He is expected to start his new job in Portland on August 15 and will earn a starting salary of $106,153.
“Dr. Vergara’s extensive public health experience through a global lens is going to greatly enhance the work of our Public Health division and the HHS department as a whole,” said Director of Health and Human Services Kristen Dow in a news release. “I truly look forward to working with him to improve the health of our city.”
Asked how the city drew an applicant from so far away, Dow said in an email that the job was posted on various public health job boards online, and she was not sure on which site Vergara came across it.
“We interviewed several qualified candidates for the position,” Dow said. “Alfredo’s depth and breadth of experience speaks for itself and we are delighted to have him join our team.”
Vergara is an epidemiologist with 28 years of experience in public health. In 2000, he opened and established the CDC’s first office in Mozambique, where he focused on AIDS relief and served as the CDC country director and public health attaché at the U.S. Embassy, according to the release.
A graduate of the University of Iowa, Vergara also served as associate director for program implementation at the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, where he led the development of multidisciplinary global health programs and taught public health.
Vergara returned to Mozambique in 2013 and was named country director for the CDC for a second time in 2016, overseeing a budget of over $180 million and a staff of more than 90 epidemiologists, clinicians and other scientists implementing programs to achieve epidemic control of HIV.
“I am very excited to join a team committed to social inclusion and community participation,” Vergara said in the city’s release. “The City of Portland has a reputation for providing excellent public health services to a growing, diverse community and I look forward to joining the team that makes this happen. I am eager to learn and face the challenges to build a better community through collaborative innovation.”