When it comes to issues affecting Americans' health and safety, people turn to the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This U.S. agency focuses its attention on disease control and prevention. Before 2020, many Americans may not have known or cared much about this national public health institute and its work. However, COVID-19 has brought this government agency and its role in public health and policy to the forefront. Responsible for matters pertaining to public health, most people are now very much aware of the CDC's existence, even if they're still unsure exactly what the CDC does.
In this article, we'll break down what the CDC does and why the organization is so vital to public health, especially in times of public health crises.
Protecting the Public's Health
What is the CDC? The CDC is an integral part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with ten more field offices in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, it is the nation's leading health services organization, leveraging science-based, data-driven solutions to protect the public's health.
The agency is focused on public health matters related to disease control and prevention. The areas that fall under this focus are broad and include:
MCR Safety pays close attention to the Occupational Safety and Health side of the organization, as it can impact the type of PPE workers require.
The more than 21,000 employees and contractors of the CDC represent 170 different occupations and work 24/7 in all 50 states and in more than 50 countries to protect the United States and all Americans.
What does the CDC do? The CDC's role within the HHS department is to increase the health security of the United States, save lives, and protect people from health threats. The Center has specific directives from Congress for the scope of its work and accomplishes these directives by using its vast scientific expertise to:
- Take the health pulse of our nation.
- Detect and respond to new and emerging health threats.
- Tackle the most significant health problems causing death and disability for Americans.
- Put science and advanced technology into action to prevent disease.
- Promote healthy and safe behaviors, communities, and environments.
- Develop leaders and train the public health workforce, including disease detectives.
The agency also advocates for all Americans to take responsibility for their health, offering learning opportunities, educational information, and other tools that help us make informed decisions about our health and safety.
Originally named the Communicable Disease Center, the organization has served the American people for over 70 years. Here are some key dates on its historical timeline:
- In 1946, the Communicable Disease Center (CDC) was organized around an organization called the Office of Malaria Control in War Areas, working to keep malaria from infected mosquitoes spreading across the nation.
- In 1970, CDC was renamed the Center for Disease Control to encompass occupational and environmental health, family planning and reproductive health, and chronic diseases.
- In 1985, it helped sponsor the first global conference on AIDS.
- 1999, the agency launched the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile, a mass collection of drugs, vaccines, and medical products for use in case of emergency.
Click the above image to view the entire timeline.
Although the organization is still known as "CDC," Congress changed the name to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of the Preventive Health Amendments of 1992, recognizing the agency's leadership role in preventing disease, injury, and disability.
Website Core Areas
The homepage of the CDC website, CDC.gov, is organized so visitors can find topical information immediately, such as the response to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Visitors can learn more details about the organization's response to other current events related to public safety, such as health risks among high school students, hurricane preparedness, and protecting against wildfire smoke.
Visitors can also find information on current disease outbreaks, an overview of the agency's activities, and a listing of links to scientific data and statistics. Here are some of the most visited areas on the Center's website:
- News – Visitors can review the latest news releases, as well as an archive of news releases, from several CDC newsrooms, including the National Center for Environmental Health; the National Center for Health Statistics; the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and T.B. Prevention (NCHHSTP); the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH); the Center for Global Health; and the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases.
- Flu Map – Visitors can view the weekly activity estimates of influenza reported by state and territorial epidemiologists and prepared by the Influenza Division. The Flu Activity & Surveillance page shows weekly influenza surveillance across the nation, by state, and as an interactive program.
- Immunization Schedules – Are you looking for a complete schedule of vaccinations, from birth to adulthood? There is an entire plan for parents to follow. Prepared for parents and healthcare providers and organized with children, adolescents, and adults in mind, the Immunization: The Basics page gives definitions of terms such as immunity, vaccine, vaccination, and immunization and links to necessary immunization information such as Why immunize?
Worker Safety and Support
The organization offers extensive worker safety and support, especially concerning current events affecting workers, such as implementing an appropriate COVID-19 response.
Their dedicated coronavirus page on workplace and employee safety provides insight for disease prevention related to over 45 specific occupations and numerous industries. Here are some we've shared with our customers throughout 2020:
Airline Maintenance Workers
Firefighters and EMS Providers
Manufacturing Workers and Employers
Meat and Poultry Workers
Transit Station Employees
Waste Collectors and Recyclers,
Sanitation and Wastewater Workers
Also, the CDC offers Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 to plan, prepare, and respond to the global pandemic.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
As we highlight in our PPE blog, this crucial gear and equipment are needed to keep workers safe across a wide variety of industries. As part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, PPE was deemed essential to prevent the spread of coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Both PPE manufacturers and distributors help state, and local officials protect and ensure public health and safety.
The CDC offers strategic advice for optimizing PPE supply during shortages, including understanding how to implement PPE during surge capacity. They also offer guidelines on putting on and taking off PPE, which is critical for its effectiveness while in use and the prevention of disease spread after a worker removes it.
What does CDC mean?
- It is the abbreviation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' branch charged with the investigation and control of contagious disease in America.
Where is the CDC located?
- The CDC's headquarters are located in Atlanta, Georgia. Ten additional field offices are located throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico in Anchorage, Alaska; Cleveland, Ohio; Cincinnati, Ohio; Fort Collins, Colorado; Hyattsville, Maryland; Morgantown, West Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Research Triangle Park in North Carolina; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Spokane, Washington; Detroit, Michigan; and Washington, D.C.
Is the CDC a federal agency?
- The organization is a United States federal agency working under the Department of Health and Human Services, implementing public health laws passed by Congress through Federal Regulations.
Who funds the CDC?
- The agency is funded through the CDC Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established by Congress. The CDC Foundation receives charitable contributions and philanthropic grants from individuals, foundations, corporations, universities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other organizations to advance the CDC's work.
How long is a common cold contagious?
- This is an important question that affects many workers throughout the year, causing many to miss work. People can be infected with the common cold a few days before the above symptoms appear. Most people recover in seven to ten days.
MCR Safety - Keeping Workers Safe
At MCR Safety, our motto is, "We Protect People." Perhaps now more than ever, the weight of this responsibility is one we bear proudly. These words speak volumes to those who rely on and trust us to protect them, especially when the need is so great.
We welcome any comments, feedback, or suggestions for how we can best protect people at work.
For over 45 years, MCR Safety has proven to be a world leader in gloves, glasses, and garments. Whether it’s on the shop floor, an oil rig, or a construction site, we are there providing solutions to workplace hazards. It’s all part of our commitment to protect people.
No matter your industry, we have the personal protective equipment you need.
Learn more about MCR Safety by checking out our most recent video. For more information, browse our website, request a catalog, find a distributor, or give us a call at 800-955-6887.