Mary Lou Valdez, a U.S. citizen, was appointed the Deputy Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) in February of 2020. The Deputy Director position is the second-highest post at PAHO/WHO, with a portfolio that includes serving as Secretary to the Governing Bodies of the Organization, including the Pan American Sanitary Conference, the Directing Council and the Executive Committee.
At PAHO, Ms. Valdez oversees the official relations with the Governments of Canada, the United States, and Puerto Rico and serves as a member of the Organization’s Executive Management. She has direct oversight of the Departments of Planning, Budget and Evaluation; External Relations, Partnerships and Resource Mobilization; Communications; and the Offices of Governing Bodies. Lou also works with the Offices of Ethics, Investigations, and Ombudsman as part of her portfolio.
Ms. Valdez has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Texas at El Paso (1986), and a Master of Science degree in Management from the University of Maryland (1998).
Over the years, Ms. Valdez served as a member of U.S. Government delegations for the governing bodies of multilateral organizations, including the World Health Organization, United Nations Children's Fund, the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development, and the Pan American Health Organization.
In 2003, Mary Lou Valdez was appointed Deputy Director of the Office of Global Health Affairs in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2009 as Associate Commissioner for International Programs. In March 2019 became the FDA's Associate Commissioner for Diplomacy and Partnerships within the Office of Global Policy and Strategy.