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|For Immediate Release
February 22, 2005
| Contact: CDC Media Relations
Dr. Gerberdings Remarks at the
National Press Club Conference
The State of the CDC: Fiscal Year 2004
Protecting Health for Life
“The health of a people is really the foundation
upon which all their happiness and all their powers as a state depend.”
Imagine a world where infants are born healthy and are nurtured in loving
homes where they have the best possible start in life… a world where
children arrive at school safe, well-nourished, and ready to learn…where
teenagers have the information, motivation, and the hope they need to make
healthy choices about their lifestyles and behaviors…where adults
enjoy active and productive lives in safe and prepared communities ...and
can remain independent and engaged with their families and friends throughout
their senior years. This is the vision of the world that inspires the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – a vision of healthy people
living in a safe and healthy world! Health is a precious resource that allows
us fulfill our dreams…to carry out meaningful and satisfying work,
to have warm relationships with and fulfill responsibilities to family and
friends, to enjoy recreation and leisure time; to share adventures with
our children and grandchildren, to be active, engaged, and a vital contributor
to our communities.
Americans are passionate about health, but all too often, we fail to take
steps to protect it. Indeed, our personal and financial investments in health
protection are overshadowed by our investments in attempting to restore
health once it is lost, or in coping with the consequences of poor health.
According to the Institute of Medicine’s report The
Future of the Public’s Health in the 21st Century (PDF, 308K),
as much as 95% of our health spending is directed toward medical care and
only 5% for investments that preserve our health.
CDC’s core purpose is to help people protect their health and the
health of those they care about. I thank the National Press Club for allowing
me this opportunity to update you on our progress in Fiscal Year 2004, as
we release our annual performance report –
Protecting Health for Life (PDF, 11MB). In conjunction with our
sister agencies in the Department of Health and Human Services, other federal
and our wonderful
partners in public health agencies, health care organizations, businesses,
schools, and faith-based and community organizations across the country,
I am pleased to report that in FY 2004 we have demonstrated important results
and significant progress toward achieving our nation’s health protection
From Afghanistan to Zambia, CDC’s extraordinary team of dedicated
men and women have been working around the clock – and in more than
40 countries around the globe – to protect people’s health.
Emerging and re-emerging domestic threats – like multi-drug resistant
staphylococcal infection, outbreaks for salmonella food contamination, and
West Nile virus – as well as global infections - like tuberculosis,
malaria, AIDS, and avian influenza – have challenged CDC to take fast
and effective action to save lives. Likewise, CDC has taken action to protect
people from the consequences of occupational hazards, injuries, environmental
exposures, and hurricanes and other natural disasters here in the United
States and abroad. In FY 2004, our disease detectives were deployed 93 times
to respond to outbreaks and other urgent challenges.
But protecting health requires more than the detection and management of
urgent threats, exposures, or new diseases. Risks to health come in many
other forms – personal lifestyles and decisions, educational disadvantages,
socioeconomic challenges. Individually these risks adversely affect the
health of millions of people, and collectively they create unacceptable
disparities in health across our nation and the globe. The gain in life
expectancy in the United States since the beginning of the 20th century,
roughly 30 years, has been a major achievement. The challenge of the future
will be to make additional years of life as healthy, productive, and satisfying
as possible for all people. The good news is that many of the risks to health
across our life stages are avoidable. Nevertheless, the challenge is great,
the situation is urgent, and the time for even more action is now!
People, Passion, Priorities, and Performance…A Formula for Health
To meet these and future challenges, we are transforming CDC. Fiscal year
2004 was a time of exciting – and often difficult - change as we defined
our first agency-wide strategic opportunities in more than 20 years, and
took the initial steps to implement them. Our Futures Initiative is guided
by one charge: We exist to protect people’s health and our entire
agency must be accountable for doing so. The result we seek is tangible
improvement in people’s health status. It is in this context that
CDC commits to ensure that, in the future, the health of the American people – our
most important customers - is measurably improved and that those improvements
are perceived by the American people as desirable and valuable in enabling
them to pursue the enjoyment and fulfill the responsibilities that life
|CDC Merits Americans’ Trust
At the beginning of this fiscal year,
The Harris Poll conducted a national survey about the
work of 11 different federal government agencies. CDC
topped the list – for both understanding and appreciation.
- Nearly all the people surveyed said
they know what CDC does: 96% -- up from 85% in 2001.
- And 90% gave CDC high marks for its
work – jumping up from 79% in 2001.
We believe that CDC deserves its worldwide reputation as a leader in health
protection. But after seeking advice and insight from a wide variety of
consumers, partners, and stakeholders, we learned that people want and expect
us to do even more, and they want to participate more in the process. We
learned that we need to expand the intramural and extramural scientific
enterprises that provide the foundation for our credibility and our decisions
if we are to stay ahead of the future health challenges we must address.
We need to provide even better service to our customers so that people have
what they need and want to make health decisions when they need it and where
they need it. And we must leverage our investments more effectively and
efficiently to accomplish our health protection goals – across CDC,
across the Department of Health and Human Services, and across the many
sectors of the entire health system. We also learned that we are sometimes
perceived as being less than - instead of greater than - than the sum of
our parts, and that we have missed opportunities to network the powerful
brain trust that exists across our agency in achieving the largest possible
impact on health.
We take this input very seriously, and are learning and innovating in response.
We are making changes now, while we are a strong and healthy organization,
because we must, we can, and we have the will to do so.
CDC’s core values – accountability, respect, and integrity – are
not changing. These values epitomize the passion that motivates the men
and women of CDC to do far more than what is required, to go anywhere in
the world at any time a health threat emerges, and to be exemplars of excellence – in
science and in service. The changes we are making through the Futures Initiative
must respect this passion and these values, but at the same strengthen our
capabilities in the “new normal” of globalization, connectivity,
speed…and threats to health across our globe and across our life spans.
We remain focused on achieving excellence in science, excellence in service,
excellence in strategy, and excellence in the systems that support these
activities in all our endeavors.
In FY 04, CDC articulated two overarching health protection goals:
- All people – and especially those at greatest risk for health
disparities – will achieve their optimal lifespan with the best
possible quality of health in every stage of life.
- People in all communities will be protected from infectious, occupational,
environmental, and terrorist threats.
We are engaging people, partners, and scientific experts in the process
of defining specific measurable goals and performance indicators that cascade
from these overarching goals. In the State of CDC Report FY2004, we have
presented draft goals for achieving health impact across five life stages
(infants, children, adolescents, young adults, and older adults) and we
are now vetting and these goals inside and outside of CDC. Likewise, we
are defining specific goals that will drive our intramural and public health
system preparedness efforts. Initial steps are in progress to develop goals
relevant to healthy environments as well. The CDC agency health protection
goals – for people, preparedness, and places - will set the direction
for CDC in years to come. They will define our priorities and drive not
only our resource allocation but also our research agenda and how we continue
to recruit, train, and keep the best and brightest workforce to create evidence-based
innovative and effective health protection programs. That’s why I’m
particularly excited about the $21 million extramural Health Protection
Research Initiative CDC announced in 2004. This targeted research effort
will help solve some of America’s thorniest health problems by:
- Funding creative investigators to develop effective workplace and community
health protection programs to address the leading killers of Americans.
- Supporting critical training in public health research to build our
nation’s corps of diverse, well-trained health scientists.
- And establishing two Centers of Excellence in Health Promotion Economics
devoted to defining the most cost-effective ways to achieve health impact.
At CDC, three core values are central
to our work and are NOT changing:
ACCOUNTABILITY - As diligent
stewards of public trust and public funds, we act decisively
and compassionately in service to the people’s
health. We ensure that our research and our services
are based on sound science and meet real public needs
to achieve our public health goals.
RESPECT – We respect and
understand our interdependence with all people both
inside the agency and throughout the world treating
them and their contributions with dignity and valuing
individual and cultural diversity. We are committed
to achieving a diverse workforce at all levels of the
INTEGRITY – We are honest
and ethical in all we do. We will do what we say. We
prize scientific integrity and professional excellence.
This process of finding out what we can do and where we can have the biggest
impact on health is supported by the Administration and both Houses of Congress.
It means that the budget is linked to the goals…and that ultimately
everyone will be able to see our progress. This is truly a transformation
change. Change for any organization does not come easily, and there will
be many bumps in the road as we evolve. Nevertheless, we are committed,
we are making progress, and we will learn as we go, and we will succeed.
Input from CDC’s employees and customers motivated us to focus on
improving our business services and management processes so that our other
strategic changes could succeed. We are now working smarter and faster with
the resources taxpayers have invested in us.
Here are just a few highlights from the State of CDC: FY 2004:
- We have reallocated more than 600 open positions from administrative
tasks to direct research and program activity positions – such as
epidemiologists, medical officers, and laboratorians
- We have reduced administrative costs by more than $83 million and made
these resources available for frontline projects that directly benefit
- We will save $35 million over 7 years and improve our customer service
by consolidating our 40 separate information hotlines into a single hotline – 1
- We have improved the speed of our grants processing time by 25% and
further improvement is expected
- We have implemented NIH’s IMPACII research grants information
system to provide better service to our extramural grantees
- We initiated a pilot project to improve our service and accountability
for state programs by assigning a senior CDC manager to directly work
on site with state health officials
- We have achieved “green lights” on all HHS Secretary’s
and President’s management objectives
- We have hired seven new Chief Management Officials to improve our service
and accountability to internal and external CDC customers, and our accountability
to taxpayers for stewardship of our funds
CDC is changing on the outside as well. In FY 2004, our $1.5 billion 10-year
facilities modernization plan moved into high gear on five major buildings.
This wise investment in tax dollars allows us to replace dilapidated buildings
with modern, safe, and secure facilities to support our expanded role in
fighting the health threats of the 21st century.
HEALTH IMPACT IN FY 2004
Protecting Health… for Life documents the health protection
impact CDC achieved in FY 2004 and here are a few key highlights:
Infant and toddler health:
- Highest every childhood vaccination coverage rates
- Improved folate intake among Latinas to prevent spina bifida
- 35% reduction in Group B streptococcal infection among African American
- 90% reduction in invasive pneumococcal disease due to strains covered
by caused by the vaccine among Alaskan children under 2 years
- GetSmart about antibiotic use campaign reached 86 million people
Just yesterday, through a collaboration of national partners, CDC launched
a campaign to promote greater awareness of early childhood development milestones. “Learn
the Signs. Act Early” is all about providing parents the information
and resources they need to help them identify early signs of autism and
other developmental disorders. It is bringing together parents, children
health care providers, childcare providers, and teachers in a decidedly
upstream activity that can really make a difference in a child’s future.
- Verb campaign associated with 34% more physical activity among pre-targeted
- 95% vaccination coverage among children entering school
- Innovative mobile van program supported at Johns Hopkins for community
outreach to support safety in urban homes
- Successful project at Jefferson Elementary in Green Bay Wisconsin to
- Innovative program supported at Columbia University to improve conflict
resolution skills deployed to 6000 teachers and 175,000 teens
- Preventing the tragedy of youth violence is a high priority at
CDC. Under the Direction of Dr. Arias’s work, our National
Center for Injury Prevention and Control is targeting prevention
of unintentional injuries in all age groups. As you heard in the
President’s State of Union Address earlier this month, First
Lady Laura Bush will be leading a nationwide effort to keep young
people out of gangs and to reduce youth violence. In 2004, CDC supported
an evaluation of the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program conducted
by Columbia University’s Academic Center of Excellence for
Youth Violence Prevention. The program has been shown to significantly
decrease conduct problems and increase academic achievement in the
young people enrolled, and is being adopted in 15 school districts
around the country. Economic evaluation has found that these positive
impacts can be achieved for just $98 per young person per year.
- Teen smoking reduced to 22%, on track to achieve Healthy People 2010
- School-based programs to decrease sexually transmitted diseases reached
more than 30,000 students and may have prevented 114 cases of pelvic inflammatory
disease in Philadelphia schools
Adult and Older Adult Health
- 21,000 women have participated in WISEWOMAN to screen for chronic health
conditions as they get mammograms
- Steps to a Healthier US programs increased to include 40 communities
to address diabetes, obesity, and asthma
- 2,200 leaders have been trained to reduce the disability associated
- Through CDC’s Advancing HIV Prevention Initiative, more than
500,000 rapid HIV test kits have been shipped to health departments and
community-based organizations in 35 states. Nearly 39,000 people were
tested in the first quarter of 2004; 513 tested positive—and found
out right away. With a traditional test, as many as one-third of those
infected wouldn’t have returned for their results, missing out on
lifesaving treatment and information to help protect others.
- Health protection is working in South Carolina to get at-risk elders
up and moving. Praisercise combines diabetes education and exercise to
gospel music. It appeals to older adults whose church community is often
an extended family. Praisercise is conducted at multiple sites weekly,
and includes diabetes education along with song and movement. One group
started through CDC’s REACH 2010 program now travels throughout
neighboring communities performing their soul-stirring routines and attracting
physical activity converts.
The influenza vaccine shortfall emerged just as the last fiscal year ended.
It proved to be one of the biggest challenges we faced in 2004, carrying
over to 2005 – and the lessons we learned this season will help us
prepare for the next season or for the possibility of a pandemic in the
future. Our response provides a compelling validation of the new CDC.
- Experts from at least 9 of CDC’s 12 centers and institutes contributed
to the emergency operation.
- Our emergency communication system was activated to reach partners
and customers in healthcare, business, education, and of course, the public
health sectors through traditional and new innovative channels.
- For the first time ever, we were able to measure vaccine coverage as
the season progressed.
- For the first time ever we were able to share proprietary information
from the vaccine manufacturer with health officials through a secure website.
- For the first time ever, we had a stockpile of influenza vaccine and
- And for the first time ever, we were able to use our Biosense electronic
public health network to capture local emergence of influenza in real-time
across our nation.
- As a result, we achieved vaccine protection that surpassed that of
last year for some high priority populations. One of the people responsible
for this tremendous effort is with me here today: Dr. Jeanne Santoli.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you, Jeanne, for all
you did to ensure the best possible protection for all Americans. You are
a true health protection hero!
In summary, the State of CDC is Great! and getting even better. I am privileged
and honored to be a part of the agency’s leadership team. The wonderful
men and women at CDC are passionate about their work because they know they
make a difference. The health protection achievements described in The State
of CDC FY2004 are some of the many ways we are contributing to a safer healthier
world. I invite you to share our vision and welcome your ideas about how
we can do even more to Protect Health… For Life!