Effect Measure

Ex-Directors caution on CDC — again

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.

Comments

  1. #1 Melanie
    April 15, 2007

    reveres, that scheme has already been identified: Friedman unit.

  2. #2 revere
    April 15, 2007

    Melanie: LOL. Yes, you are right (NB: If you don’t know, a Friedman unit is 6 months, the period of time the NYT’s Tom Friedman set for seeing if the Iraq debacle was going to work or not. He reset it every 6 months. It has been widely adopted by conventional wisdom pundits, most recently for “the surge.”)

  3. #3 Melanie
    April 15, 2007

    Here’s the Wikipedia link.

  4. #4 Rich
    April 15, 2007

    Foege was there for Reagan not Bush. I doubt that anyone who follows politics have ever really believed that Gerberding’s days were numbered. Incompetent lapdogs are what thrive in this administration. Perhaps when her patron, Tommy Thompson, left DHHS, there might have been a possibility of her departure or promotion (along with the possibility that the Administration could have selected someone even worse). Gerberding has not fought cuts in basic public health like vaccinations and she’s consistently done her master’s bidding. Zherouni seems like a saint by comparison–his experience as an academic administrator prepared him well for being a hack and also for protecting his turf; he knows that if he wants to run a major medical school he needs to be a better steward than “Julie”. Gerberding will probably windup at some third rate medical school, perhaps at a drug company, or at a dysfunctional non-profit like the American Red Cross.

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