Large Number of CDC Employees Leaving Agency
In the last two years, an "unprecedented" number of CDC staff has resigned or retired from the agency, prompting some officials to express concern, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Young, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 9/10).
Since 2004, more than 12 CDC officials have left or announced their resignations. In 2005, 46 CDC staffers who are also members of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps retired from the agency --- the largest group of retirees in a decade. Historically, the average number of retirees has been 26.
Among the 4,298 science staff members, 63 retired and 131 resigned last year, according to the Journal-Constitution (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 9/10).
In addition, by the end of 2006, all but two of the directors of CDC's eight primary scientific centers will have resigned. The departures include CDC's top vaccine expert, other experts in world diseases and pandemic flu coordinator James LeDuc.
In a Dec. 22, 2005, letter addressed to CDC Director Julie Gerberding and obtained by the Journal-Constitution, five former CDC directors -- William Foege, James Mason, David Satcher, Jeffrey Koplan and David Sencer -- said they are "concerned about the previous and impending losses of highly qualified and motivated staff" at the agency. They added, "We are concerned that so many of the staff have come to us to express their concerns about the low morale in the agency. We are concerned about the inability of many of the partners to understand the direction in which CDC is headed."
According to the Journal-Constitution, some former and current CDC officials said their departures were related to Gerberding's "Futures Initiative" plan, which aims "to broaden CDC's approach to health issues, changing its organizational chart from deep silos of expertise on individual diseases to a wider structure meant to encourage more collaboration on broader health issues" (Young, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 9/10).