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CDC at Work Today! Best Business Practices

Last updated March 19, 2020

Approved by: Lester Fahrner, MD

Quick Highlights:


CDC at Work Today! Best Business Practices

Quick Highlights:

CDC reallocated more than 600 positions from administrative functions to direct research and program activity positions – such as epidemiologists, medical officers, and laboratorians.

CDC reduced administrative costs by more than $83 million and made these resources available for frontline projects that directly benefit health.

CDC will save $35 million over 7 years and improve its customer service by consolidating 40 separate information hotlines into a single contact center.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has taken a landmark step in its public health readiness to confront the challenges of 21st-century health threats such as terrorism, Avian influenza, and the unrelenting stresses of modern life. This change also includes modernizing its management and accountability to realize tangible savings that can go directly to science and programs that affect people's health. The changes add greater agility and accountability. CDC has transformed into a learning organization. We learn as we go and what we learn we apply quickly. What CDC has learned is paying dividends today and will continue to as we confront the health threats of the future.

For Example:

Reduced hiring time by 47% by restructuring its human resources while eliminating 76 human resources full-time positions.

  Consolidated all 13 information technology infrastructure services, with reduced operating costs of 21% ($23 million).

  Completed the delayering of the agency to no more than four management levels, which more than doubled CDC’s supervisory ratio from 1:5.5 in 2002 to 1:12. This agency-wide approach reduced the layers in CDC, resulting in compressing the distance between citizens and decision-makers.

  Established CDC-wide Business Services Improvement intranet web site, which provides up-to-date information, including key performance indicators, video’s, spotlights, etc., to CDC staff regarding the progress and achievements in the wide range of business services improvements.

  Over the last two years, CDC has conducted public-private sector competitions for various functions covering nearly 1,000 CDC staff positions. As a result, CDC saved over $40 million through the development of most efficient organizational proposals to carry out the functions.

  CDC worked with the National Academy of Public Administration to evaluate and recommend strategies to enhance its diversity, leadership development and succession planning in four areas: effectiveness, efficiency, economy and equity. CDC’s new Office of Workforce and Career Development will continue to work with NAPA and others throughout the agency to develop a Diversity Action Plan. Our plan is to ensure CDC's workforce has the diversity and skills needed to achieve its goals.

  CDC at Work Today! CDC Successes During the Transforming Process

Comprehensive Research Agenda Development

For the first time in CDC's history, a comprehensive research agenda is being created that focuses on important health goals. CDC's two overarching goals are to prepare for terrorist health threats and, at the same time, protect the health and quality of life across the entire lifespan of all Americans.

  During the past two years, CDC’s new public health research initiative awarded more than $50 million for investigator-initiated extramural research, research training, and Centers of Excellence in Public Health Economics; Public Health Marketing and Communications; and Public Health Informatics. The investigator-initiated extramural research is devoted to business and academia working to improve employee wellness.

  CDC's new Coordinating Center for Health Promotion is also creating the first comprehensive obesity research agenda.

Innovative Communications

The new Centers for Health Marketing gives CDC the research and science base to develop and market the information people want and need to choose health.

Highly targeted messaging during public safety emergencies was not possible for CDC in the past. With the creation of new Center for Health Marketing, CDC put it to the test during the 2004 hurricanes. Carbon monoxide poisoning from indoor generators was a serious threat during and following the hurricanes. CDC's communication teams worked with the scientists to rapidly package information about carbon monoxide safety. Two retail chains used our public service announcements to inform their customers about carbon monoxide and West Nile, reaching the targeted audience at a time they could not necessarily be reached through traditional communication channels because of power outages.

  Science-based advice regarding effective interventions and policies is not accessible to many decision makers. Decision makers need access to independent and objective information about what works and at what cost when they choose programs and policies. Collaborating agency-wide, the new Centers for Health Marketing has launched CDC's Community Guide information to ensure that information quickly reaches a broad range of public and private sector audiences and encourages sound health action.

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Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: March 19, 2020
Last updated: March 19, 2020