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CDC Reorganized to Face 21st Century Health Threats

CDC's recent strategic reorganization was the first effort to modernize the agency's workflow in more than 20 years. During the last major transformation, CDC had 4,000 employees and a budget of approximately $300 million. Today, CDC's combined workforce (employees and contractors) is approximately 15,000 with a budget of approximately $8 billion.

 Photo: CDC Building

CDC's job is to protect lives and improve health. CDC's health protection goals were developed to meet existing and emerging health needs in the 21st century by impacting healthy people 1) in every stage of life; 2) in healthy places; 3) prepared for emerging threats; and 4) living in a healthy world.

These Health Protection Goals help CDC:

Within the new structure, CDC's scientists are better able to share their expertise to solve public health problems, emergencies or not; streamline the flow of information for leadership decision-making; and better leverage the expertise of partners.

The scientific core of CDC remains the same. The changes added greater agility and accountability.

For example, CDC reallocated more than 600 open positions from administrative tasks to mission direct research and program activity positions—such as epidemiologists, medical officers, and laboratorians.

CDC reduced administrative costs by more than $83 million and made these resources available for frontline projects that directly benefit health.

CDC is saving $35 million over 7 years and improved our customer service by consolidating its 40 separate information hotlines into a single hotline.

The changes brought about in this process were achieved within budget and employee-positions ceilings for FY2005 (the year of the restructuring). No one lost their job because of this modernization effort.

CDC took on the restructuring with sobering facts in mind. America is a very different place from what it was just a few years ago.

Photo: CDC Auditorium
  • The U.S. population is growing older and more diverse.
  • Health care costs are soaring and competition for resources—material, financial, and human—is increasing.
  • Emerging infectious diseases and terrorism make us more vulnerable to threats from outside America's borders.
  • Diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic diseases threaten to erode years of steady gains in Americans' quality of life.
  • Today's health customers demand quick, reliable information that is easy to access and easy to understand.

On July 1, 1946, the CDC, then known as the Communicable Disease Center, stepped into the world of public health. Sixty years later, CDC is recognized around the world as a leading force in public health expertise.

In its 60th year, CDC used DNA "fingerprinting" to track down the e-coli bacteria found in fresh spinach while other CDC scientists identified the cause of nearly two-dozen mysterious deaths in Panama. The deaths were caused by diethylene glycol (DEG) found in government-made, generic-label sugar-free cough and anti-allergy syrups.

To protect and improve the health of the American people in the 21st century, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a strategic planning process in June 2003 that culminated with the support of the U.S. Congress on April 1, 2005. For more about this topic, visit CDC's virtual press room. For more information about CDC's organizational elements, read about CDC's new organization.

Page last modified: 10/26/2006