CDC vital to healthy work force, economy

I am pleased to share with you a guest column that appears in the July 13-19 edition of the Atlanta Business Chronicle, CDC vital to a healthy work force, economy, by CDC Foundation board member John Rice, vice chairman of GE and president and CEO of GE Global Growth and Operations. The column highlights CDC’s economic impact in Georgia, and describes how CDC’s role in creating jobs in Georgia will continue to benefit the state as Georgia’s reputation for global health and bioscience accelerates. The column also describes how CDC’s reach goes far beyond the metro area to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and domestic.

CDC vital to healthy work force, economy
Atlanta Business Chronicle
July 13, 2012
Viewpoint - John G. Rice

Rice is vice chairman of General Electric Co., president and CEO of GE Global Growth and Operations, and a CDC Foundation board member. In my role as a CDC Foundation board member, I have had the great privilege to go behind the scenes at one of Atlanta’s most treasured resources – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At CDC, I have met brilliant, dedicated scientists who are turning science into action to protect all of us from expensive and dangerous health threats.

My roots are in Atlanta. Now, as I live and work in Hong Kong, I can see CDC’s impact on the world’s health from a different vantage point. The connection between our work here, thousands of miles away, and what CDC is doing in Atlanta to protect us all is evident and vital. Disease knows no borders. Outbreaks that start in remote corners of the world can travel to the U.S. as quickly as a plane can fly. And CDC's science about what works to keep employees and their families healthy helps ensure that we can compete in markets around the world. CDC not only helps safeguard the health of our employees and their families, but also helps safeguard the economic health of Georgia.

Maria Saporta wrote an excellent article recently about Atlanta’s efforts to brand itself as a global health center, with CDC playing a crucial role. As Maria reported, if Atlanta succeeds, it will enhance the city’s international reputation, contribute to economic development, and position Atlanta to make major contributions to the health and well-being of citizens around the world. CDC’s role in creating jobs in Georgia will continue to benefit the state as its reputation for global health and bioscience accelerates.

As both a global health leader and a local economic engine, CDC employs 8,900 people in the state and has an annual payroll of $940 million in Georgia. CDC is among the top 15 employers in the state, and would rank 215 on the Fortune 500 if it were a private company. And every CDC job creates another three jobs in the state. There’s a ripple effect that goes far beyond the agency. CDC purchases $364 million from Georgia businesses annually, leases 5.6 million square feet of offices and lab space and awards $71 million to Georgia research universities and nonprofit organizations to help jump-start collaboration, innovation and public health action.

Atlanta is fortunate to have CDC in its own backyard. Yet CDC’s reach goes far beyond the metro area to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and domestic. What many people don’t know is that more than 70 percent of CDC’s funding goes to state and local health agencies and other partners to protect communities across America.

Through my involvement with the CDC Foundation, and my global work with GE, I have seen firsthand that CDC is an invaluable and indispensible resource. Disease anywhere affects people everywhere. With the world a dangerous place, we need CDC – not only for the health of the world, but for the health of the economy. In times of unprecedented global connections and global threats, a strong and well-resourced CDC is vital to all of us.

John Rice is vice chairman of General Electric Co., president and CEO of GE Global Growth and Operations, and a CDC Foundation board member.


Charles Stokes is president and CEO of the CDC Foundation.