The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services responsible for developing and implementing disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and education aimed at enhancing the health of people in the United States. The CDC started in 1946, and since then, it has become the chief federal agency for protecting the health and safety of people, offering reliable information to improve decisions about health, and promoting health by forming sound partnerships. The CDC’s mission is “to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.” Part of this mission includes protecting people from some of the most prevalent, deadly, and baffling threats to personal health. CDC employees often travel to investigate and try to control infectious diseases that threaten individuals, communities, and nations.
The agency has formed national and international partnerships in order to develop prevention strategies, encourage healthy behaviors, identify and explore health problems, conduct research, foster safe environments, and impart leadership and training. The CDC also assists state and local departments with tasks such as ameliorating environmental hazards, identifying illnesses, educating the public on sexually transmitted diseases, stressing the importance of immunizations for children, and other community undertakings. In addition, the agency values relations with private corporations and media outlets that team up to promote public safety and health.
One goal of the CDC is to continually provide significant, accessible, up-to-date information that is necessary public knowledge. As listed on the official CDC Web site, the agency has set goals to conquer future challenges as well. Some of the current and future challenges for the CDC include putting science into action, preventing violence and unintentional injury, meeting the health and safety needs of a changing workforce, employing new technologies to provide credible health information, protecting individuals against up-and-coming infectious diseases, eliminating racial and ethnic disparities, fostering safe and healthy environments, and cooperating with partners to advance global health.
The CDC includes 12 centers, institutes, and offices that specialize in certain aspects of health. The Office of the Director (CDC/OD) manages and oversees the activities of the CDC. The National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID) prevents illness, disability, and death that result from national and global infectious diseases. The CDC also has a national center that specifically targets preventing and controlling human immunodeficiency virus, sexually transmitted diseases, and tuberculosis—the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHSTP). The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) leads the country in preventing birth defects and developmental disabilities and also focuses on enhancing the wellness of people with disabilities. The National Immunization Program (NIP) prevents disease, disability, and death caused by vaccine-preventable diseases. The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) prevents untimely death and disability from chronic diseases and encourages healthful personal behaviors. The National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) promotes prevention of disease and death that occur as consequences of interactions between people and environments. The Epidemiology Program Office (EPO) works on advancing the public health system through coordination, support, and training. The Public Health Practice Program Office (PHHPO) fortifies community practice of public health. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) offers statistical information that helps determine what actions to take and policies to put in place to improve the health of Americans. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIP) prevents death and disability from both unintentional and violent injuries. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) fosters safety and health for people in the workplace.
The CDC’s official Web site provides general information about the agency, national and state data and statistics, and CDC publications.