The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is about to make significant changes.
The agency told its staff that it expects to make several changes internally, with some offices merging their responsibilities and new offices being created, according to a report in The Hill.
The reorganization is not surprising, given that in August, CDC director Rochelle Walensky expressed disappointment over the CDC's response to the pandemic.
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“For 75 years, CDC and public health have been preparing for COVID-19, and in our big moment, our performance did not reliably meet expectations. As a long-time admirer of this agency and a champion for public health, I want us all to do better, and it starts with CDC leading the way,” Walensky said.
A CDC staff member told The Hill that the majority of the organization will now report directly to the Immediate Office of the director, instead of a “community of practice structure” that had been employed before.
Among the changes expected are:
- The Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services and the Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support to be combined into a new agency entity called the National Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Public Health Infrastructure and Workforce;
- The Center for Preparedness and Response will now be renamed the Office of Readiness and Response; and
- Several new offices also will be created, including the Office of Health Equity and the Office of Public Health Data, Surveillance and Technology. Regarding the latter, the CDC staffer said it was part of the agency’s aim to “build the data infrastructure necessary to connect all levels of public health with the critical data needed for action,” according to the report.
The report also noted that along with changes to the offices within the CDC, the agency staffer said a “new, centralized leadership team of multi-disciplinary experts” would be put together to provide supervision over the organization. Members of the team will include the CDC’s director, chief of staff and several deputy directors.
“These changes will improve efficiency, speed decision-making, and strengthen the communication of scientific information to the American public, ensuring CDC’s science reaches the public in an understandable, accessible, and implementable manner as quickly as possible,” the staffer told The Hill.