New CDC Director Emphasizes Science-Based Interventions, Disease Outbreak Preparedness In Agency All-Hands Meeting

STAT: New CDC director predicts U.S. can end AIDS epidemic within seven years
“The AIDS epidemic in the United States could be ended in the next few years, the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Protection predicted Wednesday, saying that health officials have all the tools they need to prevent its spread. Dr. Robert Redfield, a former AIDS researcher who has spent decades treating people infected with HIV, made the remark in an all-hands meeting for CDC staff on his second full day at the Atlanta-based agency. … He also called emergency preparedness — protecting ‘the health of the American public from that which we don’t expect’ — the agency’s most important mission. Whether those threats are pandemic influenza — ‘my biggest fear’ — or a new or re-emerging infectious diseases threat or bioterrorism, the CDC must be ‘100 percent prepared,’ Redfield said…” (Branswell, 3/29).

Washington Post: In emotional speech, CDC’s new leader vows to uphold science
“…The 66-year-old Redfield, a longtime AIDS researcher appointed to the job a week ago, was overcome by emotion twice during his brief remarks and a question-and-answer session. The University of Maryland medical professor had sought the top job at the CDC and the National Institutes of Health for more than a decade. … Redfield came across as knowledgeable and well briefed. … Several staff members noted his strong embrace of science and said they were especially gratified to hear him say that if the CDC has evidence to support a public health intervention, the intervention should be applied. … Although his supporters point to his strong background in infectious disease and global health, public health experts inside and outside the agency say one of his biggest challenges will be his limited governmental public health experience, especially involving emergency responses. Redfield spoke about organizing a relief effort during the 2010 Haiti earthquake and about his experiences working in Africa on the PEPFAR program…” (Sun, 3/29).

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