CDC launches modernization review to implement lessons learned from COVID-19

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky listens during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will undertake an agencywide modernization review to better position itself for the future of public health, Director Rochelle Walensky announced this week.

Jim McCrae, associate administrator for primary health care in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), will join CDC beginning April 11 for a monthlong detail to spearhead the review and “listen to and engage with our ongoing COVID-19 response activities,” Walensky wrote in an email to staff obtained by FedScoop.

From there, McCrae — a lifelong public servant at HHS who has helped scale the department’s Health Center Program — will report back to Walensky “with insight on how the delivery of our science and program can be further strengthened during this critical time of transition,” she said.

Meanwhile, internal CDC senior leaders will also gather feedback on current structures, systems and operations, and solicit suggestions for possible changes.

“At the conclusion of this collective effort, we will develop new systems and processes to deliver our science and program to the American people, along with a plan for how CDC should be structured to facilitate the public health work we do,” Walensky wrote.

She added: “Over the past year, I have heard from many of you that you would like to see CDC build on its rich history and modernize for the world around us. I am grateful for your efforts to lean into the hard work of transforming CDC for the better. I look forward to our collective efforts to position CDC, and the public health community, for greatest success in the future.”

Prior to this modernization effort, the CDC has relied heavily over the past two years on adopting new cloud-based advanced analytics systems to aid in COVID-19 information sharing and response.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), HRSA, Rochelle Walensky
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