CDC beginning a ‘long journey’ of looking itself ‘in the mirror’: Former director

Former CDC director: Time for agency to ‘look in the mirror’

Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield argues the public health agency turned into an ‘academic institution.’

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD: I think at the heart of this is, when they really talk about a ‘reset,’ is, what the primary role of CDC is. Is it an academic institution or is it a public health response agency? And when it started back 75 years ago, working with the Defense Department to work on malaria, it was a public health response agency. And, one, I think it’s dwarfed into, over the 75 years, is to have more of a culture of an academic institution.

And I think at the heart of this report and what the director has commented on, is it’s really time for CDC to look in the mirror, kind of see what it’s become and ask the question, ‘Is its culture and structure optimized as a public health response agency or is it optimized as an academic institution?’ And I think that’s the heart of it. So I think it’s an important first step. It’s going to be a long journey to try to change the culture of the agency and really make it so it can be a public health response.

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