CDC director warns of effects of major budget cuts

The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said he believes morale at the agency to be high despite major budget cuts.

The CDC’s budget was slashed by $740 million between fiscal years 2010 and 2011. The millions account for an 11 percent reduction in the CDC’s budget authority and the lowest budget authority the agency has had since the 2003 fiscal year, according to the Washington Post.

“We’ve had to make very difficult and painful choices that are resulting in program reductions and eliminations, reduction in the number of staff working on projects, reductions in dollars going out to state governments for prevention, for preparedness, for lead poisoning prevention, for asthma management,” Thomas R. Frieden, the CDC head since 2009, said, the Washington Post reports.

Frieden pointed out that state and local governments are also hurting because of budget constraints. Over the past two years, governments have cut approximately 45,000 public health jobs.

“No one likes to see their unit go away,” Frieden said, according to the Washington Post. “But, basically, we’ve been very attentive to what people’s concerns are. We’ve emphasized that people are doing a good job here. There’s a great deal of technical expertise.

“Not that everything’s perfect. But I think CDC has a very strong morale, and people are very committed to our mission and are doing their jobs well.”

The director noted that the CDC’s laboratories remain at high risk and that to continue to provide essential services, investment in them needs to continue.

“And our labs need to continue to upgrade their technology and their informatics capacity and their staffing capacity in order to keep pace with scientific advances,” Frieden said, the Washington Post reports.