Late Breaking News
Frieden to Head CDC
- Categorized in: May 2009 Issue
WASHINGTON—Thomas Frieden, M.D., commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, was named the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on May 15. He replaces Julie Gerberding, M.D., who stepped down as CDC director earlier this year.
“I am deeply honored and privileged to be selected for this position, and I look forward to learning from and working with the wonderful staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Dr. Frieden said of his appointment.
Dr. Frieden has been commissioner of the New York City health department since 2002. A leading expert in tuberculosis control, he was appointed health commissioner after working in India for 5 years, where he assisted with national tuberculosis control efforts.
Prior to his tenure in India, Dr. Frieden was instrumental in stopping the tuberculosis epidemic in New York City. He began his career at the New York City Department of Health in 1990 as a CDC epidemiologic intelligence service officer working on a wide range of health issues. During his time as director of the Bureau of Tuberculosis Control and assistant commissioner from 1992 to 1996, New York City reduced cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis by 80 percent.
In a written statement, President Obama called Dr. Frieden “a leader in the fight for healthcare reform,” and an “expert in preparedness and response to health emergencies” The President also noted, “[He] 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.”
The American Public Health Association applauded the appointment, saying, “Frieden has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to protecting the public’s health through his tireless work on issues ranging from implementing a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars to increasing HIV testing rates. He has not backed away from the tough public health challenges and in doing so has helped the people he served lead healthier, longer lives.”
A graduate of Oberlin College, Dr. Frieden received degrees in Medicine and Public Health from Columbia University. He completed specialty training in Internal Medicine at Columbia and subspecialty training in Infectious Diseases at Yale University.
Acting CDC Director Rich Besser, M.D., who led the agency after Dr. Gerberding departed, will continue leading CDC’s Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response, a position he has held for four years.