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CDC memo cites anger, frustration

January 30, 2007
by Alison Young
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The memo, which CDC provided at the AJC's request, is the latest documentation of serious, ongoing problems at the public health agency, public health and government experts and a U.S. senator said this week. Mission at risk? It comes a year after five former CDC directors sent a rare joint letter to current CDC Director Julie Gerberding, raising concerns that turmoil in the agency ”including an exodus of key staff and poor employee morale” was putting the CDC's scientific mission at risk. "I think it's evidence that this is more than a morale problem and clearly a situation that now is affecting the proper functioning of the agency," said Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health, a Washington-based watchdog group that evaluates whether state and federal health agencies are prepared for emergencies. Based in Atlanta, the CDC has 9,000 employees and about 5,000 contract workers. The employee concerns detailed in King's memo were drawn from ZVED, one of the agency's major scientific centers. "What's particularly interesting is this is a relatively new center director appointed by Dr. Gerberding and who is now saying these things publicly," Levi said. "I think that creates some real issues for Congress to want to look into."

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