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Letter from the Director

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The American people trust CDC to ensure their health, safety, and security. That trust is reflected in Pew Research data that year after year ranks CDC as one of the most trusted federal agencies in the U.S.

Dr. Tomas Frieden, MD, MPH

A commitment to rigorous science and a willingness to take risks to stop health threats may explain in part why Americans are confident in our ability to keep them safe. In 2015, CDC fought dangerous diseases on many fronts. As we ended the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, our disease detectives and staff confronted outbreaks of chikungunya, dengue fever, foodborne illnesses, healthcare-associated infections, monkeypox, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, rabies, and even plague. In each case, CDC had boots on the ground to quickly identify the threat and minimize the impact.

We are experts at handling some of the world’s most dangerous infectious, chemical, biological, and environmental threats. And when we uncovered concerns in our laboratories, we openly reported them and rapidly improved safety and quality. We’ve spread best practices, expanded biosafety training, enhanced our laboratory incident reporting process, developed a new electronic specimen inventory system, installed secondary verification cameras, inventoried more than 7 million samples, and, perhaps most importantly, developed new ways to share what we’ve learned with other laboratories. In 2015, we created the Office of the Associate Director for Laboratory Science and Safety. The office develops and coordinates all laboratory safety and quality management programs across CDC to ensure all of our laboratories meet the highest standards. In addition, CDC established the Laboratory Leadership Service (LLS), a 2-year program analogous to the Epidemic Intelligence Service for developing future laboratory leaders.

In 2016, CDC faces a new threat – the Zika virus. We must move quickly to change the course of this epidemic. There is still much more we must learn about the virus to stop its spread.

CDC is the frontline of health defense for Americans. We remain committed to keeping our work for the public’s health on the cutting edge to ensure America stays safe.


Signature: Thomas Frieden

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

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