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CDC director announces sweeping review of agency

<i>Greg Nash/Pool/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky
POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Greg Nash/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky

By John Bonifield, CNN

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced a sweeping review of the nation’s lead public health agency Monday.

The review will evaluate the CDC’s structure, systems and processes, Walensky told CDC staff in an email.

Starting April 11, Jim Macrae, an administrator with the US Department of Health and Human Services, will join the CDC for a month-long listening tour and assessment. Walensky said he will provide her with insight on how the delivery of the agency’s science and programs can be further strengthened as it transitions more of its Covid-19 response activities to its various centers, institutes and offices.

Walensky also asked three senior leaders to gather feedback on the agency, including its current structure and suggestions for change.

“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,” Walensky wrote.

In a statement, the CDC said that during the past year, it “has worked to speed up data reporting and scientific processes throughout its pandemic response. Work is needed to institutionalize and formalize these approaches and to find new ways to adapt the agency’s structure to the changing environment.”

Walensky said in the statement, “Never in its 75 years history has CDC had to make decisions so quickly, based on often limited, real-time, and evolving science. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented opportunities across HHS to review current organizational structures, systems, and processes, and CDC is working to strategically position and modernize the agency to facilitate and support the future of public health. 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.

“This work will allow CDC to develop new systems and processes to deliver science and program activities to the American people, with a keen focus on the agency’s core capabilities — public health workforce, data modernization, laboratory capacity, health equity, rapid response to disease outbreaks, and preparedness within the US and around the world.”

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