ROME — Pope Francis, 84, has chosen a specialist in internal medicine and gerontology to be his new personal physician, the Vatican said.

Dr. Roberto Bernabei, 69, is a professor of internal medicine at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart and director of the Department of Aging, Orthopedics and Rehabilitative Medicine at Rome’s Gemelli hospital.

He is a papally appointed member of the administrative council of the foundation that runs the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, the hospital in Italy founded by St. Pio of Pietrelcina, is a former member of the board of the European Academy for Medicine of Aging and a past president of the Italian Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics.

The Vatican announced his appointment Feb. 24.

The pope’s previous personal physician, Dr. Fabrizio Soccorsi, died in early January after contracting COVID-19 while undergoing cancer treatments.