A Time to Take Stock and Look Ahead

As the last days of 2013 slip away, I read with interest Dr. Tom Frieden’s CNN.com blog, which provides his thoughts on the successes of the Centers for Disease and Prevention’s (CDC) work over the past year and the public health challenges the agency will face in 2014.

By any measure CDC has had a stellar year in 2013—despite a host of challenges that included sequestration and the government shutdown, which sidelined most of CDC’s dedicated staff. Among the successes Dr. Frieden highlights are:

  • CDC 2013 InfographicTips from Former Smokers campaign, which led to 100,000 smokers quitting;
  • Employing advanced molecular detection to stop a listeria outbreak (CDC needs more funding to invest in this technology that will reduce the time to detect and respond to outbreaks);
  • CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network that is helping more than 12,000 healthcare facilities track healthcare-associated infections;
  • Preventing HIV infections in one million babies worldwide through 10 years of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR; and
  • Developing resources to help health care professionals, communities and individuals prevent more than 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

Any one of these accomplishments is a reason to celebrate, but combined together and with other CDC achievements, 2013 represented a year of public health advancements. But there’s much to do in 2014, as Dr. Frieden points out:

  • Increase use of HPV vaccine;
  • Ensure the preservation of antibiotics and their effectiveness; 
  • Reduce deaths from prescription drug overdose; 
  • Eradicate polio worldwide; and
  • Increase safety from global infectious disease threats.

As the CDC Foundation closes out our year, we are grateful to the many partners who have helped us advance CDC’s work. We reached a significant milestone this year—since 1995, we raised $400 million and launched more than 700 CDC-led programs.

Our success is based on CDC’s fantastic work, its reputation and value. We look forward to 2014, continuing the work with our current partners and connecting with new ones to help CDC make critical advancements that protect and improve the health of communities in the United States and throughout the world.

Charles Stokes is president and CEO of the CDC Foundation.