CDC director makes twice as much as predecessor, far exceeds past directors

Newly appointed CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, will be paid $375,000 annually, which is almost twice the amount his predecessor made and significantly more than past directors, according to statements from government officials cited by Bloomberg.

The long-time HIV researcher did not have experience working in public health or managing a public health agency. Dr. Redfield's $375,000 annual compensation is almost twice the annual compensation of Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, who was director for six months before her January resignation. Dr. Fitzgerald's annual pay was $197,300.

Additionally, Dr. Redfield is making at least $150,000 more annually than any other previous CDC director. Although Dr. Redfield's CDC salary is modest by private industry standards, Bloomberg noted, his compensation is high for employees in government public health.

Dr. Redfield is also making significantly more than his boss, HHS Secretary Alex Azar, whose annual compensation is $199,700, according to a HHS spokesman. The director's pay is more than twice that of Scott Gottlieb, MD, head of the FDA, who makes $155,500 annually.

Dr. Redfield receives his compensation under a salary program called Title 42, which aims to attract health scientists skills critical to government work. The jobs filled by Mr. Azar and Dr. Gottlieb do not qualify for salaries under the program. Their salaries are determined by law.

However, it is not typical to use Title 42 to recruit a CDC director, Bloomberg noted. Dr. Fitzgerald was not paid under that program and neither was her predecessor, Tom Frieden, MD, whose annual pay was $219,700 before he left the position in January 2017.

The release of Dr. Redfield's follows a statement that announced the CDC director's resignation from his positions at four groups, including a gene therapy biotechnology company and AIDS organization, to meet HHS ethics rules concerning possible conflicts of interest. 

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