CDC to undergo structural review

The CDC plans to undergo a one-month review beginning April 11 to inform strategic change and modernizations at the agency, The Washington Post reported April 4. 

In an email to employees, agency director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said she has hired a senior federal health official to lead the review and "kick off an evaluation of CDC's structure, systems and processes," according to the Post, which obtained a copy of the email. 

"At the conclusion of this collective effort, we will develop new systems and processes to deliver our science and program to the American people, along with a plan for how CDC should be structured to facilitate the public health work we do," Dr. Walensky said. 

Four notes: 

1. The review will be led by Jim Macrae, associate administrator for primary healthcare at the Health Resources and Services Administration, part of HHS. 

2. Dr. Walensky said senior CDC officials will solicit feedback to guide strategic change at the agency: Deb Houry, MD, acting principal deputy director; Robin Bailey, chief operating officer; and Sherri Berger, chief of staff. 

3. The review and restructuring will center on the agency's "core capabilities," including strengthening the public health workforce, data modernization, laboratory capacity, health equity and rapid response to outbreaks and preparedness in the U.S. and globally. 

4. The agency has routinely faced criticism since the COVID-19 pandemic began for missteps around late recommendations, confusing guidance and flawed design of diagnostics. Some experts welcomed the outside review and faulted the government for failing to provide the agency with the support it needed to modernize and update inadequate infrastructure, the Post reports. 

"Never in its 75-year history has CDC had to make decisions so quickly, based on often limited, real-time and evolving science," Dr. Walensky said of the reasons for the restructuring in separate remarks to the public. "As we've challenged our state and local partners, we know that now is the time for CDC to integrate the lessons learned into a strategy for the future."


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