Obama appoints new CDC head

Big health news: according to the New York Times,

President Obama announced on Friday that he has chosen Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the New York City health commissioner, as the next director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Frieden, a 48-year-old infectious disease specialist, has cut a high and sometimes contentious profile in his seven years as New York’s top health official under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. He led the crusade to ban smoking in restaurants and bars, pushed to make H.I.V. testing a routine part of medical exams, and defended a program that passes out more than 35 million condoms a year.

As part of his announcement, President Obama described Frieden as  “an expert in preparedness and response to health emergencies, and has been at the forefront of the fight against heart disease, cancer and obesity, infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS, and in the establishment of electronic health records.”

According to a Kaiser Network article,

Several HIV/AIDS and health care advocates praised the appointment, according to the Times. Dennis deLeon, president of the Latino Commission on AIDS in New York City, said that Frieden is “willing to challenge the status quo in an effort to make a difference.” Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the not-for-profit group Trust for America’s Health, said that Frieden is a “transformational leader” who “can take public health to a new place” (Harris/Hartocollis, New York Times, 5/15).

Prior to taking his most recent job in New York, Frieden worked on tuberculosis control in India for the World Health Organization.  Before that, he directed New York’s Bureau of Tuberculosis Control (see the New York Times’ expanded coverage on  Friedman).

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~ by h.e.g. on May 16, 2009.

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