Newspaper examination: Georgia public health lags

July 6, 2009
The Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Georgia appears to be unprepared on several fronts to prevent and contain public health threats, according to an examination by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is based in Atlanta, two miles from the state's main public health lab in Decatur. State officials say the CDC siphons its top epidemiologists and lab technicians, and the proximity to the federal agency has served to highlight rather than alleviate Georgia's shortcomings.

"People tend to think of Georgia as being in the CDC's backyard," said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health, a Washington-based nonprofit public health group. "You'd think that they'd make this a model health department."

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