The last time we reported on the concern of five former CDC Directors that morale was going down the toilet at the agency was September 11, 2006. That was in a joint letter sent to Director Gerberding. Now it’s 7 months later and the venue is more public, a symposium sponsored by the George Washington University School of Public Health. One of them was William Foege who was CDC Director under Carter and Bush (1977 to 1983):
Foege said that CDC must eliminate the “perception … that politics trumps science and truth” and strengthen the “role of science that has always characterized CDC” because the agency will have problems with retention of scientists when “people debate the efficacy of condoms or the need for vaccinations.” Koplan agreed, citing the need for CDC to maintain “public trust in scientific integrity at a time when there is a perception of political ideology intruding into public health decisions and public health policy.” ( via Kaiser network via Pharma-lexicon and Jeff Nesmith’s reporting in the Atlanta Journal Constitution)
This was echoed by two other former Directors, Jeff Koplan (1998 – 202) and William Roper (1990 – 1993):
Koplan agreed, citing the need for CDC to maintain “public trust in scientific integrity at a time when there is a perception of political ideology intruding into public health decisions and public health policy.” According to Roper, the closer CDC “is to the political process, the harder it is to function as a world health agency.”
We keep hearing Gerberding’s days are numbered. But then we heard the same thing about Rumsfeld (for years) and now Gonzales. I guess it’s a different kind of numbering scheme in the Bush administration.