CDC Director Gerberding Announces Structural Changes to Agency
At an "all hands" meeting Monday that was broadcast to CDC's nationwide offices, Director Julie Gerberding announced that the agency "will adopt the most conservative of the three strategic redesigns the agency has been considering," a move which could "quell employee fears" of an altered mission and shape, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (McKenna, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/19). The reorganization follows an effort launched by Gerberding last June to examine the agency's structure and purpose. During the 11-month initiative, CDC officials spent the first six months conducting more than 500 interviews with public health partners, including state and local health departments that receive funding from CDC (McKenna, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/15). Some of the redesign proposals have been "a source of worry for some personnel at the Atlanta-based agency and led to an unusual degree of outspokenness among its commonly loyal staff," the Journal-Constitution reports. All the proposals would "collaps[e] some portions of CDC into others," according to the Journal-Constitution. The reorganization plan Gerberding announced Monday does not change the identity of the CDC's 12 prominent subdivisions but rather groups them together thematically to decrease the number of people who report directly to Gerberding. Gerberding said that the plan also sets two main goals for the agency: preparedness and prevention. According to the Journal-Constitution, CDC plans to "establish achievement benchmarks that each major unit of the agency is expected to meet and create new units that will push research results and prevention information out to individuals, businesses and the health care system." Gerberding said that a new organizational chart should be distributed in three weeks and that all senior and middle managers will attend new leadership training sessions. She said, "We are not making major structural changes at CDC. We are making the minimum number of organizational changes that we feel are essential to accomplishing new strategies" (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/19). NPR's "All Things Considered" on Monday reported on how the CDC's reorganization may affect the agency's Office on Smoking and Health. The segment includes comments from Michael Eriksen, director of the Institute of Public Health at Georgia State University; Stan Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California-San Francisco and author of a listserv on tobacco issues; Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; and CDC spokesperson Tom Skinner (Elliott, "All Things Considered," NPR, 4/19). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.