Friday, May 15, 2009

Frieden to Head CDC

I was happy to read in the New York Times today that Obama picked Tom Frieden to head the CDC. Dr. Frieden went to medical school and did his residency at Columbia, just like a few other people I know. He later went on to work for WHO in India for five years on TB control. In 2002 he became the Comissioner of the NYC Department of Health, where he has made many bold decisions to protect the public's health. The NYC Department of health website says there are now 300,000 fewer smokers in the City than in 2002, which will prevent 100,000 premature deaths in years to come.

I like the following anecdote about getting things done quickly (from the Oberlin College Alumni Magazine, 2006):

Describing Frieden—then in his early 30s—as “driven and brilliant, with an incredible passion for public health,” Larkin was amazed by how quickly he took steps to hire new employees, greatly speeding up a process that had taken “months and months” before his arrival. “He brought applicants in on Saturdays to interview, and those who qualified would be offered the job that same afternoon. And then, when they arrived a few days later for their physical exams [another potential bottleneck], they discovered that the doctor who would be giving them their physicals, quickly and efficiently, was none other than … Tom Frieden.”

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