CDC Strategic Framework

Using Science and Innovation to Prevent, Detect, and Respond

A Bold Promise to the Nation

Image of hands holding a pretri dish with a culture

With this strategic framework, CDC commits to save American lives by securing global health, ensuring domestic preparedness, eliminating disease, and ending epidemics. CDC’s strategy to save American lives cascades from an ambitious aspiration to granular action plans and detailed measures of success. CDC’s foundational scientific work remains vital to the overall mission of this agency. This strategy was built with the input of about one hundred of CDC’s best experts, and reflects both the Director’s decades of research in virology and epidemiology, along with CDC’s deep knowledge and more than 70 years of experience responding to and preventing disease outbreaks. CDC is a large agency with a broad mandate and specific congressional directives; this strategy highlights and reinforces major efforts and goals and is not inclusive of all our important work.

CDC’s Strategy is Based on Action Plans and Detailed Measures of Success

Examples Include:

  • Opioids – Reduce US drug overdose mortality by at least 15% by 2021
  • Opioid Data – Reduce data delay from 3 months to 1 week for nonfatal opioid overdoses
  • Influenza – By 2021, increase flu vaccination coverage rates among children to 65% and among pregnant women to 55%
  • HIV/AIDS – Eliminate new HIV infections in 10 years
  • Vaccine-preventable – Increase by 10% up-to-date HPV vaccination coverage rate in 2021 compared to 2017 (48.6%)
  • Rapid Response – By 2022, triple the number of CDC rapid response teams and trained incident managers
  • Vector-borne – Reduce by 75% cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in US tribal communities
  • Hepatitis C – Reduce hepatitis C-related deaths by 65% in 10 targeted states by 2024, as a first step to a national program
  • Antibiotics – Reduce by 50% inappropriate antibiotic use in outpatient settings by 2020
  • Global – Zero countries with wild poliovirus
  • Diabetes – Reduce the number of new diabetes diagnoses from 1.4M in 2018 to 1.1M cases per year by 2025
  • AMD – Increase the routine use of Advanced Molecular Detection from 37 states (2017) to all states (2019)

Our Priorities will Save American Lives, Continuing a Proud History of Putting Science into Action

Our priorities reaffirm our leadership and commitment to confront and respond to health threats wherever they occur. CDC’s scientific experts around the world work to bring an end to the devastation of epidemics, finally eliminating certain diseases, and providing a new level of domestic health preparedness and global health security against current and emerging threats.

Scientist wearing personal protective equipment

Securing Global Health and America’s Preparedness by stopping the spread of contagions, revitalizing our public health infrastructure and addressing bioterrorism threats, and vector-borne diseases.

Global and Domestic Preparedness: Pandemic Contagions – CDC is the nation’s leader in public health preparedness and response to disease pandemics. CDC fights contagions at home and abroad, continuing to enhance our ability to rapidly detect new viruses and improve federal, state, and local pandemic readiness.

Domestic Preparedness: Biological, Chemical, Radiation/Nuclear Terrorism – These threats have the potential to kill or injure hundreds of thousands of Americans, cause economic chaos, and create a loss of confidence in the US Government’s ability to protect America.

Domestic Preparedness: Vector-borne Diseases – Vector-borne diseases (VBDs) like dengue, malaria, and Lyme disease account for 17% of the global burden of all infectious diseases. The number of reported domestic cases of VBD tripled from 2004-2016, with more than 640,000 reported cases and nine new pathogens discovered in the U.S. during that time period.

Image of Virus

Eliminating Disease such as ending HIV/AIDS, controlling vaccine-preventable disease, and targeting Hepatitis C, a costly and debilitating condition.

HIV/AIDS – Elimination of new HIV infections in America is possible. Medical and scientific advances provide an opportunity to “bend the curve” and shift the U.S. epidemic to one where the number of people acquiring HIV steadily decreases, leading to elimination.

Vaccine-Preventable Diseases – CDC’s leadership in national vaccine policy and programs results in prevented deaths and diseases, and significant savings in direct and indirect costs.

Hepatitis C Infection and Disease – Hepatitis C is a common, costly, but now curable, costly disease. Testing and treatment strategies could save about $3.3 billion in health care costs and reduce transplants, disabilities, and deaths.

Doctor vaccinating a pregnant woman

Ending Epidemics such as decreasing opioid overdoses, improving strategies and interventions to stem seasonal influenza, developing and deploying new answers for antibiotic resistance, and reducing new incidents of diabetes.

Opioids – In 2017, over 70,000 Americans died from a drug overdose. An overwhelming majority of these overdose deaths involved an opioid.

Influenza – Seasonal influenza killed 80,000 Americans in 2017. Emerging and novel influenza viruses pose the biggest threat to the world’s health, as the most likely next global pandemic. CDC is the nation’s leader in seasonal influenza prevention and control.

Antibiotic Resistance – Antibiotic resistance threatens modern medicine. Infections resistant to antibiotics affect over 2 million Americans every year, and kill 23,000 Americans; an additional 15,000 die from its consequences (e.g., infection with C. difficile). The global burden is unknown; O’Neil report estimates exceed 700,000 deaths per year.

Diabetes and Prediabetes – More than one third of the U.S. population has diabetes or prediabetes. Prevalence tripled in the last two decades. Diabetes can lead to devastating consequences and costs our nation $327 billion annually; $237 billion direct medical costs and $90 billion lost productivity/disability.

CDC’s Five Core Capabilities Will Accelerate and Enable these Priorities

Protecting America’s health requires continuous improvement for our most vital assets, which are fundamental to meet our agency’s priorities:

Develop and deploy world-class data and analytics, which are critical assets to meeting today’s and tomorrow’s health challenges. Data is the foundation of CDC’s work. As a strategic asset, the data CDC generates and uses needs to be timely, accurate, and useable.

As the reference lab to the world, we must maintain state-of-the-art laboratory capacity. CDC is a world leader in laboratory science, which is fundamental to CDC’s work. Conducted to the highest standards of safety and quality, this science informs public health action.

Elite public health expertise ensures we have the capacity to address complex diseases and swiftly respond to new threats. To accomplish our mission, CDC needs to maintain an elite, highly trained, cutting edge, deployable and flexible scientific and programmatic workforce.

Quickly respond to outbreaks at their source, both domestic and abroad. CDC’s foremost responsibility is to respond to outbreaks, which are becoming ever more complex and frequent, to protect Americans’ health, save lives, and protect livelihoods. The world counts on CDC to implement appropriate and immediate early interventions, which could prevent an aggressive outbreak from becoming an epidemic, and prevent an epidemic in a country or region from developing into a worldwide pandemic.

Build on the current foundation for strong global health capacity and domestic preparedness. State and local expertise and a strategic global footprint refocused to the highest-risk regions will help ensure an adaptable, resilient, better coordinated system, and better prepared countries that can address disease threats at their source.

Our strategic priorities are also enabled by unique expertise and interdependent capabilities, including strategic communications, operational excellence, partnerships, and stakeholder engagement.

Using Science and Innovation to Prevent, Detect, and Respond

Vision for the Future

For more than 70 years, CDC scientists and disease detectives have worked around the world to track diseases, research and end outbreaks, respond to emergencies of all kinds, and use what they learn from this work to strengthen America′s health and resilience.

Investing and acting globally enables CDC to be better prepared to combat any threat to the health and safety of American citizens, no matter where in the world it might first arise. With this vision for the future, CDC will be well positioned to continue our proud history of putting science into action by ending epidemics, eliminating disease, ensuring domestic preparedness, and securing global health.

Page last reviewed: July 8, 2019