"A Fireside Chat with Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." CSIS Commission on Strengthening America's Health Security, Center for Strategic and International Studies, August 30, 2022. Accessed December 21, 2023.

Photo Credit: JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP/Getty Images

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Please join the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security on Tuesday, August 30, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET, for a fireside chat with Rochelle Walensky, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tom Inglesby, Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and Julie Gerberding, CEO of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) and co-chair of the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security, will host and moderate a discussion reflecting on the CDC’s critical role in pandemic preparedness and response, at home and abroad. As part of that, Dr. Walensky will offer details on recently announced plans for major internal reforms to strengthen CDC’s future performance.

This is a critical moment for the CDC. Over the past two and a half years, the CDC has made valuable contributions to the country’s response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Its people have worked under enormous pressure to deliver guidance to the public on the most challenging issues and timelines. It also provided financial and technical assistance to state and local public health agencies and communities on a continual basis. The country owes the CDC gratitude and appreciation for the work and the sacrifices its people have made over this time.

At the same time, serious challenges have emerged, as acknowledged by Dr. Walensky. Over the course of the pandemic, the CDC’s reputation for scientific rigor has been challenged. Popular trust and confidence have fallen, legal authorities have been eroded, communications have stumbled, and political assaults have intensified. As the complexity and longevity of the pandemic have stretched and revealed some of the CDC’s organizational limits, it has become clear that now is a pivotal moment to secure the agency’s authority as the gold standard of scientific and public health expertise, while expanding its operational capacity with modern tools and flexibilities to prepare, detect, and respond more effectively to epidemic threats.

This event is made possible by the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.