CDC: New Director Has AIDS Policy Background
Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala "this morning will name" Dr. Jeffrey Koplan as the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (McKenna, 7/10). Koplan, who currently heads the Prudential Center for Health Care Research, spent 22 years at the CDC, where he had a hand in crafting the nation's first responses to the AIDS epidemic. The New York Times reports: "In the early 1980s, Dr. Koplan was instrumental in formulating the agency's response to the AIDS epidemic, particularly its efforts to protect the nation's blood supply, an effort that later became controversial" (Stolberg, 7/10). Dr. James Curran, dean of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and former director of the CDC's HIV/AIDS division, said of Koplan's appointment, "The thing that impresses me about Jeff is the breadth of his background. He has worked in AIDS, international health, immunizations, chronic disease, health promotion, and program planning and evaluation. He's very well-liked, and very well respected for both his scientific approach and his humanistic understanding of problems" (Journal-Constitution, 7/10).
New Responsibilities And Challenges
The New York Times notes that as head of the Prudential Center, Koplan "supervises studies intended to make medical care more efficient and effective," a background that "may be particularly useful ... as the [CDC] tries to persuade managed-care organizations to pay more attention to public health." A CDC official who "insisted on anonymity" said of Koplan, "He's got a very strong mix of technical expertise and management ability, with a vision of where to go with public health." In addition to heading the Atlanta-based CDC, Koplan is "being appointed Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, which is concerned with preventing health damage from exposure to hazardous substances." The CDC directorship has been vacant since February, when Dr. David Satcher was appointed U.S. Surgeon General. Koplan will assume his new duties on October 5 (7/10).
Another Health Appointment
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Dr. Nicole Lurie, a professor and internist at the Hennepin County Medical Center, "will become a deputy assistant U.S. Secretary for Health" in September. Lurie will "focus on public health issues, including an initiative to reduce disparities in health status among racial groups" (Lerner, 7/10).