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Letter from Dr. Gerberding

Department of Health
and Human Services
Public Health Service
Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC)
Atlanta GA 30333


April 21, 2005

Dear Colleague:

Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has taken a landmark step in its readiness to confront the challenges of 21st-century health threats. I am very pleased to announce that, following notification by the Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, on April 5, 2005, the U.S. Congress accepted CDC's new strategic orientation, including its overarching mission and restructuring, making it official today. CDC is also announcing today the selection of Henry Falk, M.D., as the director of the Coordinating Center for Environmental Health and Injury Prevention; Donna F. Stroup, Ph.D., as the director of the Coordinating Center for Health Promotion; and Mitchell L. Cohen, M.D., as the director of the Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases.

When CDC started this process in 2003, it had been more than a quarter century since the last modernization effort. At that time, 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.

Results of our modernization will be apparent as innovations take hold and add value to our work. I thank each of you, CDC's partners, for your candid input, your constant willingness to collaborate amidst so much uncertainty, and your steadfast support that has humbled and motivated all of us at CDC. Our commitment to you is that the "new" CDC will continue to recognize and respect the irreplaceable role you play in protecting the safety and health of Americans. The success of our health protection network depends on the strength of its links, and you are one of the strongest.

We are truly grateful for your help in this transformation.

We are refocusing our efforts to address goals that truly have an impact on people’s health and safety across their lifespan. We hope you will be willing to provide input into the action plans supporting achievement of these goals as they emerge in the next weeks to months. Our new structure better aligns CDC to achieve these goals. Our new coordinating centers will help CDC's scientists collaborate and innovate across organizational boundaries, improve efficiency so that more money can be redirected to science and programs in our divisions, and improve the internal services that support and develop CDC staff. The four new coordinating centers include the Coordinating Center for Environmental Health and Injury Prevention, the Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, the Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases, and the Coordinating Center for Health Information and Services. In addition, CDC has added two new centers, the National Center for Public Health Informatics and the National Center for Health Marketing, to provide the science we need to create usable information that people need to make sound health decisions. We are actively recruiting leaders to fill CDC’s center director vacancies, and I am pleased to say that more than 330 outstanding applicants have already applied for the 8 positions that are available.

Since CDC began the transformation, we have:

  • Created an Office of Public Health Practice to help modernize and strengthen our public health system.
  • Created the Division of Public and Private Partnerships to increase activities and coordination with partners in business, healthcare, educational organizations, federal agencies, faith-based organizations, and foundations.
  • Assigned senior management officials to several states to pilot an initiative to improve our support to state health departments.
  • Initiated the development of the first agency-wide research agenda in the history of CDC.
  • Enhanced and expanded CDC’s Emergency Operations Center to develop new networks of information transfer across agencies, jurisdictions, countries, and professions.
  • Redirected more than 660 positions and $83 million to science and programs.

As important as these changes are, we are adamant that some things will not change. Preserving the integrity and quality of CDC science, maintaining a dedicated, top-notch workforce, and continuing our tradition of inclusiveness and respect for others are core values that we will always emphasize.

We are excited to share our news about the "new" CDC with you. We also thank you for your optimism, great ideas, and incalculable contributions to the health and safety of all Americans. If you would like more information about the "new" CDC and details about new structural components, please visit If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Lorine Spencer at (404) 639-7153.

Julie Louise Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H.


See the new organizational structure (PDF, 13 KB).

 See the new organizational structure




Page last modified: May 4, 2005