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  1. What Does the CDC Do? | Council on Foreign Relations › backgrounder › what-does-cdc-do
    • Introduction
    • What Does The CDC do?
    • What Are Its Origins?
    • How Is It Organized?
    • How Does It Fit in with Other U.S. Health Agencies?
    • What Is Its Global Role?
    • How Has It Responded to The Coronavirus Pandemic?
    • What Are Other Major Criticisms of The CDC?

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the federal agency mandated with protecting the health of Americans. Among the world’s preeminent health agencies, it plays a crucial role in fighting disease globally, conducting cutting-edge research and acting as a first responder in crises such as outbreaks of the Zika virus in South America and Ebola in West Africa. However, the agency has faced sharp criticism at times, particularly over its response to crises and ethical lapses. In 2020, it was thrust into the spotlight again amid the pandemic of a new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, and missteps during the U.S. outbreak have prompted some calls for reform.

    The CDC has a broad mandate to address health, safety, and security threats both at home and abroad. Its roles include: 1. detecting and responding to new and emerging health threats, such as the spread of COVID-19 and other epidemics; 2. tackling the leading causes of death and disability for Americans, including heart disease and cancer; 3. promoting healthy communities and best health practices; and 4. developing the public health workforce. To accomplish this, the CDC carries out scientific research on new and ongoing threats, with more than two hundred specialized laboratories across the United States. It is also often the primary U.S. agency communicating critical health information to the public.

    The Communicable Disease Center was founded in 1946as the successor to a program focused on controlling the spread of malaria during World War II. The fight against the mosquito-borne disease, which at the time was believed to be widespread in the American South, led to the agency being based in Atlanta, Georgia. It eventually took on research and response efforts for other health issues, including sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, and immunizations. Over time, Congress expanded its mandate further to include threats such as gun violence, chronic diseases, environmental contaminants, and bioterrorism. The CDC went through several more name changes before taking on its current title: for several years in the 1960s, it was the National Communicable Disease Center; it was the Center for Disease Control through the 1970s; and it was renamed the Centers for Disease Control in 1980. In 1992, it became the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The CDC is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It has a workforce of over twenty thousand people across more than sixty countries. The directorship of the CDC is typically a political appointment by the president that does not require the Senate’s approval. Directors are always health-care professionals; Rochelle Walensky, a medical doctor and virologist, has headed the agency since January 2021. The CDC is divided into institutes, offices, and centers—there are twelve major units and more than two dozen in all—each with their own focus, such as the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity. The CDC Budget in FY2020, by Program Total budget: $12.0B 100% Vaccines for Children 42% HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STI and TB Prevention 12% Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion 8% Public Health Preparedness and Response 7% Immunization and Respiratory Diseases 6% Injury Prevention and Control...

    There are several other agencies within HHS doing work related to that of the CDC. These include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Within the NIH is the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is a research rather than public health practice entity. The NIAID, currently led by Anthony Fauci (who is now also President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor), has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 response alongside the CDC. The CDC Is One of Many Health-Focused Agencies HHS operating divisions, sized according to FY2020 budget Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Food and Drug Administration $6B Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration $12B Health Resources and Services Administration Administration for Community Living $6B $2B Indian Health Service $11B $7B Administration for Children and Families National Institutes...

    For many health professionals, the CDC is the gold standard for national health agencies. It has regularly worked in tandem with the World Health Organizationto respond to international health concerns and has built a high reputation in many parts of the world, maintaining staff in dozens of countries. “Quietly and effectively, the CDC projected American competence and leadership,” wrote Sudip Parikh, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, for STAT in 2020. “Around the world, public health agencies across Asia, Africa, and Europe are called ‘CDC,’ despite the fact that the acronym may be meaningless in the home language.” A principal aspect of the CDC’s global reach is its field epidemiology program, through which it trains what it calls “disease detectives” in the United States and abroad. With more than ten thousand graduates, the program has produced many of the world’s leading epidemiologists. The CDC has also played important roles i...

    Widely expected to be the leading U.S. agencyresponding to the pandemic, the CDC was largely sidelined under President Donald J. Trump’s administration, though it was part of the White House coronavirus task force. It clashed early on with the administration after warning the public of the potential for severe disruptions to public life, and the agency faced harsh criticism as it struggled to develop a diagnostic test, issue guidance to states and localities, and share best practices with the public. In February 2020, the CDC came under fire for developing a diagnostic test for the virus that sometimes produced inconclusive results in state laboratories. It took three weeks, a critical period as the U.S. outbreak unfolded, before states were able to use the test effectively. Many experts have said other missteps, including narrow criteria for who should be tested, also contributed to the virus’s spread throughout the United States. In response, then CDC Director Robert Redfield said...

    The CDC has faced its share of criticism in its seventy-five years. It has been at the center of several controversies, and has been faulted for being out of touch with what’s happening on the ground. The agency oversaw the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study, in which Black male patients were tested without their informed consent and were not offered treatment for up to forty years until its end in 1972. Following a massive CDC effort in 1976 to vaccinate against a flu strain, several hundred immunized people developed the rare Guillain-Barre syndrome; the debacle was seen as a major setback for public trust in vaccines. And amid the anthrax attacks that took place shortly after 9/11, the agency was seen as disorganized and ill-prepared to handle the bioterrorism threat. Though the CDC also took blame for a slow public health response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, many experts say the agency was hamstrungdue to White House resistance to funding research and prevention efforts. There have...

    • Claire Felter
  2. Mar 02, 2020 · The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is one of the major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services. What does the CDC do? According to the CDC’s mission...

  3. CDC Organization | About | CDC › about › organization

    May 07, 2021 · CDC works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same. CDC increases the health security of our nation.

  4. VIDEO: What is the CDC and what does it do? › news › video-what-the-cdc-and-what

    The CDC is one of the major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services.

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  6. Myths and Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC › coronavirus › 2019-ncov

    Jun 17, 2021 · The federal government does not mandate (require) vaccination for people. Additionally, CDC does not maintain or monitor a person’s vaccination records. Whether a state or local government or employer, for example, can require or mandate COVID-19 vaccination is a matter of state or other applicable law external icon. Please contact your state ...

  7. When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated | CDC › coronavirus › 2019-ncov

    May 16, 2021 · COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic. These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated.

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