Morale at CDC Questioned
The Senate Finance Committee is investigating whether morale problems at CDC are impacting the agency's ability to effectively address national health emergencies, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Interagency complaints have arisen since CDC began a massive reorganization effort in 2003. Known as the Futures Initiative, changes being implemented under the leadership of CDC Director Julie Gerberding include a revamped management structure with new initiatives "meant to break down bureaucracy and encourage greater collaboration" among various health experts, the Journal-Constitution reports. Some employees claim that the measures have created more bureaucracy, delayed their work and "marginalize[d] key scientists," the Journal-Constitution reports.
Jill Kozeny, a Finance Committee spokesperson, said the concerns voiced by CDC employees prompted the investigation. "Current and former employees are reporting that morale problems caused by failure of current agency management to adequately involve employees in the ongoing reorganization are resulting in the loss of distinguished medical experts whose participation will be greatly needed in the event of future catastrophic health emergencies," Kozeny said.
Kozeny added that the investigation is not related to a separate inquiry by the committee into how $3.8 billion in CDC grants to prevent bioterrorist attacks is being allocated to states.
CDC representatives maintain that the changes have not negatively impacted morale.
CDC spokesperson Tom Skinner pointed to the agency's responses to SARS, monkeypox, the 2004 Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina as evidence of CDC's efficiency. He said, "The CDC has never been in a better position than it has been under Dr. Gerberding's leadership to respond to emergencies."
CDC staff resignations are at their lowest level in six years, Skinner added (Young, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/24).