Center for Health Security submits Senate RFI to reform and strengthen the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
October 20, 2023 – The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security today provided feedback and suggestions in response to a Request for Information (RFI) from Senator Bill Cassidy, Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, on how Congress can help reform and strengthen the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Center for Health Security believes that a sufficiently funded, adequately authorized, agile CDC, with a clearly defined and broadly supported mission at home and abroad, is essential for the country to prepare for and respond to infectious disease emergencies and maintain critical public health functions. Strengthening the capacity to do this work in the US and internationally will bolster public trust.
Our recommendations build upon our RFI to Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks and draw heavily from “Building the CDC the Country Needs,” a report written under the auspices of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Commission Working Group on the CDC and co-authored by the Director of our Center with 38 signatories, including experts on state and local public health.
It is very important to note that 10 months have passed since this report was published, and there have been many important and constructive developments at CDC since that time.
Our priorities for Congress now include the following:
- Expand CDC’s contracting and data-collecting authorities, so that all necessary capabilities for crisis response are in place prior to a public health emergency.
- Increase CDC’s budget and budget flexibility, so the agency has the resources and agility needed to both run its regular programs and to surge capacity in a crisis.
- Support ongoing reforms of CDC training and staffing domestically and abroad to increase the organization’s capacity to operate, particularly its efforts to prepare for and respond to infectious disease emergencies.
- Continue to monitor the progress of CDC reform to ensure that necessary capacities are being strengthened or put in place to prepare CDC and the country for future epidemic challenges.
- Re-establish the longstanding bipartisan approaches that Congress has taken to monitor and support the agency in its critical work.
Read the Center’s full RFI response.