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CDC, under fire for covid response, announces plans to revamp agency


In an agency-wide email shortly after 1 p.m. after the management team was briefed, Walensky said she hired a senior federal health official outside the Atlanta-based agency to conduct a month-long review to “launch an assessment of DCC’s structure, systems and processes.

“Over the past year, I’ve heard from many of you that you would like to see CDC build on its rich history and modernize for the world around us,” Walensky wrote in the e- mail. “I am grateful for your efforts to build on the hard work of transforming CDC for the better. I look forward to our collective efforts to position the CDC and the public health community for the greatest success in the future.

A copy of the email was shared with The Washington Post.

Since the pandemic began more than two years ago, the once-legendary agency has come under fire for its pandemic response, from initial delays in developing a coronavirus test, to the severe eligibility limits to take the test, to missteps often attributed to interference by the Trump administration. But even under the Biden administration, the agency’s guidelines on masking, isolation and quarantine, and booster doses have repeatedly been criticized for being confusing. A constant criticism has been the agency’s inability to be nimble, especially with real-time data analysis and release.

Walensky appeared to acknowledge these criticisms in brief public remarks about the reasons for the reorganization.

“Never in its 75-year history has the CDC had to make decisions so quickly, based on often limited, real-time, and evolving science,” she said in a statement. . “…As we challenged our state and local partners, we know the time is right for the CDC to incorporate lessons learned into a strategy for the future.

Walensky told staff the month-long effort, which would begin April 11, would be led by Jim Macrae, associate primary health care administrator at the Health Resources and Services Administration, or HRSA. HRSA and CDC are part of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

She also called on three senior officials to gather feedback and solicit suggestions for “strategic change.” They are Deb Houry, acting senior assistant director; Robin Bailey, Chief Operating Officer and Sherri Berger, Chief of Staff and longtime agency veteran who oversaw the agency’s budget for many years, and who is very close to Walensky.

She said the overhaul would focus on the agency’s “core capabilities,” including bolstering the nation’s public health workforce, modernizing data, lab capacity, health equity, response rapid response to epidemics and preparedness in the United States and around the world.

“At the end of this collective effort, we will develop new systems and processes to deliver our science and our program to the American people, as well as a plan for how the CDC should be structured to facilitate the public health work we do. perform,” Walensky wrote.

The review will take place as the CDC streamlines its coronavirus management structure, which draws teams from across the agency to manage the day-to-day response to covid, and instead will return more activities to existing offices, a- she writes.

The email was sent at a time when many of the agency’s more than 13,000 scientists, epidemiologists and public health experts are away for spring break. But a CDC official welcomed the overhaul of the CDC’s structure and processes. “This is NOT a bad thing as covid has exposed real weaknesses,” the individual wrote in an email, requesting anonymity to candidly share his thoughts. “I think substantial changes will require legislation, and I don’t know if this Congress or the next one will be able to do that.”

CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund wrote that the reorganization would build on changes already underway within the agency to speed up data reporting and other processes integral to the pandemic response. . Walensky sought to expedite the release of data and guidance, and share more frequent updates with the public, officials said.

“Work is needed to institutionalize and formalize these approaches and to find new ways to adapt the structure of the agency to the changing environment,” Nordlund said. “These efforts will strengthen and transform the CDC to better support the future of public health, and modernize and optimize the agency to deliver science and programmatic activities to the American people.”

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.

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