“The new CDC is here,” Dr. Julie Gerberding announced Wednesday, April 21.
When CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding first announced the start of the Futures Initiative on June 16, 2003, she laid the groundwork for the most far-reaching and sweeping changes at one of the nation’s preeminent public health agencies. When the U.S. Congress accepted CDC's new strategic orientation and restructuring, on April 5, 2005, that acceptance also meant that the 22-month long Futures Initiative had fulfilled its role.
The Futures Initiative has helped CDC to prioritize its strategies, programs, resources, and needs, as well as to reorganize its structure, so that the organization can be more efficient, more effective, and more nimble in responding to the challenges of 21st-century health threats.
The Futures Initiative started with CDC staff collecting input and comments from a wide cross-section of CDC’s partners and customers (the people whose health CDC is trying to improve). This unprecedented, “outside-in” review of the agency’s performance, organization, and operations involved CDC’s customers, decision-makers, partners, stakeholders, and employees.
More than 500 individuals and organizations from outside of CDC provided input in individual and group discussions. Those organizations included traditional national, state and local public health partners, professional and medical associations, public health workers, clinicians, media representatives, priority populations and community-based organizations, foundations, advocates, and business and private sector entities. Throughout the Futures Initiative, informal discussions with customers and stakeholders also yielded opinions and ideas about what directions CDC should follow. CDC employees provided important internal viewpoints and ideas.
From all of these perspectives, six strategic directions emerged.
Health impact. CDC will prioritize its science, research, and programs to achieve measurable health impact for the public, and emphasize prevention of early risk factors and support of healthy behaviors.
CDC will be a customer-centric organization. CDC’s primary customers are the people whose health we are working to protect.
Public health research. Science will remain the foundation on which all CDC programs, policies, and practices are based.
Leadership for the nation’s health system. CDC must assume greater leadership to strengthen the health impact of the state and local public health systems.
Global health. CDC will establish clear priorities for its global programs and increase global connectivity to ensure rapid detection and response to emerging health threats.
Effectiveness and accountability. CDC will modernize its management and business practices to become more efficient, effective, and accountable.
The Futures Initiative also introduced overarching health protection goals to help CDC focus resources and staff in accomplishing its mission:
Health promotion and prevention of disease, injury, and disability: All people, especially those at higher risk due to health disparities, will achieve their optimal lifespan with the best possible quality of health in every stage of life
Preparedness: People in all communities will be protected from infectious, occupational, environmental, and terrorist threats
Healthy Places: The places where people live, work, learn, and play, should protect and promote human health and eliminate health disparities.
Goals management is a critical aspect of CDC’s transformation and movement toward achieving a greater health impact. CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding has emphasized this point, noting that “These goals will determine how we spend our money, allocate our personnel, and evolve our workforce. They will be the basis for all our priority decisions.”
During the subsequent stages of the Futures Initiative, hundreds of CDC’s staff members and advisors from outside the agency served on work groups and teams that focused on the transition, strategic imperatives, goals management, and business services. That work laid the foundation for implementing the new organizational design and the strategic goals.
This new structure better aligns CDC’s resources to achieve its goals. Four new coordinating centers, two coordinating offices, and two new centers augment the parts of the previous structure that remain intact. (See the new organizational structure -- PDF, 13 KB.) The newly restructured CDC now includes the following:
- Coordinating Center for Environmental Health and Injury Prevention
- Coordinating Center for Health Promotion
- Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases
- Coordinating Center for Health Information and Services
- Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response
- Coordinating Office for Global Health
- National Center for Public Health Informatics
- National Center for Health Marketing
Other new offices within the Office of the Director will also help accelerate the creative, innovative thinking spawned during the Futures Initiative:
- Office of Career and Workforce Development
- Office of the Chief Science Officer
- Office of Enterprise Communication
- Office of Public Health Practice
- Office of Strategy and Innovation
In addition, CDC’s frontline public health activities will also continue in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which remains intact from the previous structure.
The momentum, excitement, and infusion of new ideas continue to cascade throughout CDC even though the Futures Initiative itself has now ended. Indeed, all across the agency a series of ongoing changes and refinements are transpiring for establishing goals management, improving business services, aligning the budget with the mission, integrating public health work, research, and response.
The agency’s transformation will be an ongoing process, and, as events unfold, information will be provided through CDC’s Web site and other channels.
May 4, 2005
Content source: Office of Director