Published: December 6, 2007
Nelson Arboleda, MD, MPH, epidemiologist with the Immunization Safety Office introduces his daughter Daniela to CDC Director Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH.
Photo by Jim Gathan
CDC's Family and Community Day helped put the "public" back in public health locally for CDC recently when it took the rare step and opened its Roybal campus doors to nearly one thousand neighbors, colleagues, families, and retirees.
The day was an opportunity for people to visit the campus, an opportunity not widely available to the public, explained Bill Porter, JD, director, Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness, "because of security needs, we have had to close our campus from the public, including our family members."
The reality is that over the last few years CDC's headquarters at the Roybal Campus in Atlanta has changed dramatically in two ways. It is nearing the completion of the 10-year master plan to replace, in some cases nearly 60-year-old buildings, with modern, environmentally sound buildings to meet the evolving public health demands of a new millennium (For more about the CDC master plan, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/news/2007/06/campus_masterplan.html.) In addition, because of the urgent realities of new security threats, it has had to close the campus from the public. These two things occurring at the same time has left neighbors and interested members of the Atlanta community in the dark about CDC's campus and about a number of its recent public health initiatives.
The day was for family and friends of all ages. Craig Chastney (left) family member and friend of both Brian McCarthy, MD, Division of Reproductive Health, and Kathy Nellis, CDC Connects, and Nellis’s father, Rex Shamley (right), enjoy a moment with Gerberding. This festive and informative event included an opportunity to meet CDC leaders.
Photo by Kathy Nellis
The Surgeon General's US Public Health Service Choral Ensemble performed.
Photo by Jim Gathany
"Family and Community Day gave us an opportunity to invite our neighbors and family members over to get to know us a little better," noted Donna Garland, Chief, Office of Enterprise Communication and coordinator of the event. "We made our important public health initiatives and our environmental efforts more open and available to them. We shared some health tips that our Atlanta neighbors and friends can bring home and share with others. CDC grew up in Atlanta, it's nice to come home and remind ourselves and our community about who we are and that we are proud to be part of Atlanta.
CDCers, family members, and community neighbors had the opportunity to see parts of the Atlanta CDC headquarters building, the Global Communications Center, and some of the campus grounds.
Garland continued, "Several guests from the Clifton Road area told me that they were so happy to be invited inside our gates. They drive by all the time and wonder what is going on in here."
Still Waters Sinfo-nia* entertained the crowd.
Photo by Jim Gathany
The CDC Global Communications Center was open for touring.
There were health-related activities for adults and children, and videos that gave visitors a peak into CDC's laboratories, plus games, music, fitness tours, and demonstrations.
This event included a fact-finding scavenger hunt for kids and Tai Chi for adults. To observe Worlds AIDS Day, panels from the AIDS quilt were available for viewing.
Attendees listened to live music from a youth orchestra while enjoying light refreshments. THE CDC Information Center/Library was transformed into the CDC Science Café, where guests talked with CDC scientists and professionals who travel the globe to protect the health and safety of people. They also participated in town hall meetings on current topics. Guests and family members met a cadre of CDC volunteers who shared tidbits about their day-to-day experiences working at CDC. They also met CDC's leaders.
Retirees spotted included Bob Kingon, former deputy of the planning and evaluation office, who had his wife had two grandkids in tow. They enjoyed the mime/performer that made health education a participatory show for kids and adults alike. He heard about the event from Staying in Touch, a CDC Connects newsletter that keeps CDC retirees informed of the CDC happenings. "It was a great opportunity for my wife to see the beautiful Roybal campus. My grandsons thoroughly enjoyed the games, the Science Café, and the performance artist (Robert Rivest)."
Martin Landry, a recent retiree, a key player in launching the Vaccines for Children program, visited with friends and said he was happy to have the opportunity to be back on campus, particularly for such a festive occasion.
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