President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Thomas Frieden, currently Commissioner of the New York City Health Department, as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday, according to a White House press release.
President Obama also announced that Acting CDC Director Dr. Rich Besser, who has led the CDC’s Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response for the past four years, will continue in this role.
“America relies on a strong public health system and the work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is critical to our mission to preserve and protect the health and safety of our citizens,” said President Obama. “Dr. Frieden is an expert in preparedness and response to health emergencies, and has been at the forefront of the fight against heart disease, cancer and obesity, infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS, and in the establishment of electronic health records. Dr. Frieden has been a leader in the fight for health care reform, and his experiences confronting public health challenges in our country and abroad will be essential in this new role.”
President Obama added, “Secretary Sebelius and I thank Acting CDC Director Dr. Rich Besser and the women and men throughout the CDC for their superb work, especially over the past weeks. Dr. Besser has led the CDC’s Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response for the past four years, and those preparations were essential during the recent H1N1 flu detection and response activities. We are very pleased he will continue in that role.”
Frieden will begin his work at the CDC in early June.
President Obama made the following announcement Friday:
“Dr. Frieden has been Commissioner of the New York City Health Department, one of the nation’s largest public health agencies, since January 2002. He has led efforts that reduced the number of smokers by 350,000 and cut teen smoking in half. New York City has also increased cancer screening, reduced AIDS deaths by 40%, improved collection and availability of information on community health, and implemented the largest community electronic health records project in the country. Dr. Frieden and his team have responded effectively to several urgent health problems including cases of anthrax, plague and, most recently, H1N1 influenza. Dr.Frieden worked for CDC from 1990 to 2002. In the early 1990s, as a CDC Epidemiologic Intelligence Service Officer, Dr. Frieden investigated a wide range of issues including the spread of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Following that, along with then NYC Health Commissioner and current Food and Drug Administration head nominee Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Dr. Frieden led the effort that stopped the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis. Following that, Dr. Frieden helped the Indian government establish a tuberculosis control program which has now saved more than one million lives. Dr. Frieden, who received his MD and MPH degrees from Columbia University and completed infectious disease training at Yale University has written more than 200 scientific articles and received numerous awards and honors.”
President Obama appoints Dr. Thomas Frieden as CDC Director (5/19)
May 19, 2009