by Anthony Robbins, MD, MPA

A recent editorial in the New York Times, “Rolling the dice on food-borne illnesses,” focused on just one of the many health dangers related to the federal government shutdown.  The editorial reminded me of developments in Vermont almost forty years ago, when I was the State Health Commissioner.

Vermont’s House Appropriations Committee was threatening to cut the Health Department’s budget.  After telling the Committee members that they would be hurting the Department’s ability to protect the public, including from foodborne and waterborne illness, I suggested naming any future disease outbreaks after members of the Committee.  I don’t know what tipped the balance, but the Health Department budget was kept intact.

Perhaps the leaders of the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could prepare a list of the leadership in the U.S. House of Representative after whom serious disease outbreaks would be named.

Anthony Robbins, MD, MPA is co-Editor of the Journal of Public Health Policy.  He directed the Vermont Department of Health, the Colorado Department of Health, the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the U.S. National Vaccine Prog


  1. #1 The Pump Handle
    October 14, 2013

    Let’s not limit this to the House. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) would be high on my list to be named after an outbreak of e.coli or campylobacter jejuni.

  2. #2 tom rogers
    United States
    October 16, 2013

    Wonderful. I’d love to see this actually catch on. I’ll certainly do my part. heh.