WASHINGTON, D.C.—Linda Distlerath, a leading health policy expert and former vice president of global health policy, at Merck & Co., has joined APCO Worldwide as a senior vice president. Distlerath is an expert in HIV/AIDS, vaccine policy issues, collaborations with nongovernmental organizations, public-private partnerships with foundations, multilateral organizations, academic institutions and governments worldwide. Her experience spans Africa, China, and Southeast Asia.
While at Merck, Distlerath spearheaded the development and implementation of the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships, a unique public-private partnership among Merck and The Merck Company Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Government of Botswana. She led Merck’s efforts in forging relationships with the AIDS advocacy community in the United States, especially during the clinical development and introduction of Crixivan, the first of Merck’s medicines for the treatment of HIV infection.
Distlerath began her work at Merck Research Laboratories as a clinical research associate in 1984, and transitioned to academic and industry relations for MRL before moving to the company’s corporate public affairs group, where she held positions as executive director for public affairs, executive director of public policy, vice president of public affairs and served as president of The Merck Company Foundation.
She joins a health team that includes James Jones, former executive vice president of The Vaccine Fund, and Trevor Neilson, former executive director of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria. She will also work with former Department of Health and Human Services senior executive William Pierce; policy expert Courtney Piron, previously of Pfizer; and Wayne Pines, former head of public affairs for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.