The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recognized as the lead federal agency for protecting the health and safety of people - at home and abroad, providing credible information to enhance health decisions, and promoting health through strong partnerships. CDC serves as the national focus for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States.
CDC, located in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, is an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Julie L. Gerberding is the Director.
Vision for the 21st Century
At CDC, we work hard to make people safer and healthier. By charting decisive courses of action, collecting the right information, and working closely with other health and community organizations, CDC has been putting science into action to tackle important health problems since 1946. With more than 8,500 employees across the country, CDC plays a critical role in protecting the public from the most widespread, deadly and mysterious threats against our health today and tomorrow.
CDC seeks to accomplish its mission by working with partners throughout the nation and world to monitor health, detect and investigate health problems, conduct research to enhance prevention, develop and advocate sound public health policies, implement prevention strategies, promote healthy behaviors, foster safe and healthful environments, and provide leadership and training.
CDC has developed and sustained many vital partnerships with public and private entities that improve service to the American people. In FY 2000, the workforce of CDC comprised approximately 8,500 FTE in 170 disciplines with a public health focus. Although CDC's national headquarters is in Atlanta, Georgia, more than 2,000 CDC employees work at other locations, including 47 state health departments. Approximately 120 are assigned overseas in 45 countries. CDC includes 12 Centers, Institutes, and Offices.
Infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, have the ability to destroy lives, strain community resources, and even threaten nations. In today's global environment, new diseases have the potential to spread across the world in a matter of days, or even hours, making early detection and action more important than ever. CDC plays a critical role in controlling these diseases, traveling at a moment's notice to investigate outbreaks abroad or at home.
But disease outbreaks are only the beginning of our protective role. By assisting state and local health departments, CDC works to protect the public every day: from using innovative "fingerprinting" technology to identify a foodborne illness, to evaluating a family violence prevention program in an urban community; from training partners in HIV education, to protecting children from vaccine preventable diseases through immunizations.
We recognize that the best, most up-to-date health information is meaningless unless it is meaningful and accessible to the people it is meant to serve. By working with public health and grassroots partners, and by leveraging the voices of the internet, and communication media, we ensure the best health and safety information is accessible to the communities and people who need it every day.
The everyday world provides a series of obstacles to continued good health: pollution and congestion in the air we breathe; contamination in our water supply; unsafe conditions in our daily workplaces. CDC works side by side with national, state and local organizations to help protect communities from dangerous environmental exposures. We may feel secure in our own health. But regardless of how vigilant we might be, the fact remains: in every town, in every community, and in every family, we are vulnerable to hazards in our environment, in our workplace, and even in our home.
CDC alone cannot protect the health of the American people. However, by engaging with others – from state and local health departments to private corporations, from media outlets to the general public – we can achieve our vision of a better world, with safer, healthier people.
Challenges that CDC faces in the future are highlighted below. CDC's mission and programs clearly focus upon these challenges. Specific action steps for each challenge are described briefly.
Improving People's Health by Putting Science into
The CDC is one of the major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services. CDC's major organizational components respond individually in their areas of expertise and pool their resources and expertise on cross-cutting issues and specific health threats. The agency is comprised of these organizational components:
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) provides national leadership for preventing birth defects and developmental disabilities and for improving the health and wellness of people with disabilities.
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) prevents premature death and disability from chronic diseases and promotes healthy personal behaviors.
National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) provides national leadership in preventing and controlling disease and death resulting from the interactions between people and their environment.
National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) provides statistical information that will guide actions and policies to improve the health of the American people.
National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHSTP) provides national leadership in preventing and controlling human immunodeficiency virus infection, sexually transmitted diseases, and tuberculosis.
National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID) prevents illness, disability, and death caused by infectious diseases in the United States and around the world.
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) prevents death and disability from nonoccupational injuries, including those that are unintentional and those that result from violence.
National Immunization Program (NIP) prevents disease, disability, and death from vaccine-preventable diseases in children and adults.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) ensures safety and health for all people in the workplace through research and prevention.
Epidemiology Program Office (EPO) strengthens the public health system by coordinating public health surveillance; providing support in scientific communications, statistics, and epidemiology; and training in surveillance, epidemiology, and prevention effectiveness.
Public Health Practice Program Office (PHPPO) strengthens community practice of public health by creating an effective workforce, building information networks, conducting practice research, and ensuring laboratory quality.
Office of the Director (CDC/OD) manages and directs the activities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; provides overall direction to, and coordination of, the scientific/medical programs of CDC; and provides leadership, coordination, and assessment of administrative management activities.
CDC performs many of the administrative functions for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a sister agency of CDC, and one of eight federal public health agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services. The Director of CDC also serves as the Administrator of ATSDR.
Approximately 8,500 employees in 170 occupations
Fort Collins, Colorado
Morgantown, West Virginia
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Washington, D.C. area
This page last reviewed October 08, 2004.