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Center for Health Security submits RFI with recommendations to reform and strengthen the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Center News


May 1, 2023  The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security recently provided feedback and suggestions in response to a Request for Information (RFI) from Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks on how the US Congress can strengthen and reform the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Center for Health Security believes that an adequately funded, appropriately authorized, and nimble CDC with a target mission is crucial to ensuring the public’s health and maintaining community resilience.

The Center's recommendations draw heavily from our "Building the CDC the Country Needs" report, written under the auspices of The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Commission Working Group on the CDC, co-authored by the Director of our Center, and supported by 38 signatories, including experts on the CDC’s state and local partners, pandemic preparedness, and policymaking

The Center for Health Security’s recommendations include:

  • Establishing a high-level executive branch-congressional-CDC dialogue on the CDC’s future, implementing immediate reforms and consolidating long-term plans.
  • Supporting the CDC’s rapid engagement with key stakeholders in the guidance development process during an infectious disease crisis.
  • Encouraging the CDC to use rapid modes of communicating critical information with stakeholder communities during a crisis.
  • Supporting the CDC as it changes its career incentive system into one that rewards operational excellence, experience, and speed in addition to scientific excellence.
  • Providing budget flexibility and the capacity to move funding to crisis response operations in response to infectious disease crises that emerge.
  • Providing new data authorities and contracting, administrative, and budget flexibilities to improve the speed and quality of data collection, sharing, and reporting.
  • Ensuring clarity around the CDC’s roles and responsibilities in relation to other agencies with a crisis response element such as the Department of Defense (DOD), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), and US Agency for International Development (USAID). 

In taking these actions, Congress can ensure the CDC has a well-defined mission and strengthened authorities to effectively respond to and communicate about emerging disease threats in order to protect public health and the nation’s economy and security.

Read the Center’s full RFI response.


For more information, please contact: Melissa Hopkins, Health Security Policy Advisor
For media inquiries, please contact: Cagla Giray, Communications Director