A few weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began a comprehensive internal review aimed at restructuring, the agency’s director announced on Friday that the team that coordinated the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic would return some of its functions to other agencies. .

But the so-called incident management structure, originally merged to respond to the health emergency, is not disbanded and will continue to meet “the requirements of this evolutionary pandemic,” according to a letter sent to staff on Friday. director, Dr. Rachel Valensky.

The move marks the beginning of efforts to make a comprehensive change in the agency, whose public reputation and reputation have been damaged in recent years. About 60 percent of Americans, for example, say they are confused by changes in official pandemic guidelines, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll.

But Dr. Valensky’s letter contained brief details about the changes. A statement from The New York Times said only that “the initial phase of collecting the review data has been completed, and now the director will synthesize information, identify topics and prioritize next steps to formalize approaches and find new ways to adapt the agency to a changing environment.” .

Last month, Dr Valensky told staff that the CDC, which has faced criticism over the recent fight against the pandemic, will be reviewed and evaluated by Jim McRae, a federal official who has held several senior positions in the Ministry of Health. and social services. The review began on April 11.

The review also looks at how to modernize the ways in which the agency develops and deploys research, and what other strategic improvements can be done to better serve public health, such as improving surveillance systems.

To that end, reviewers conducted more than 100 interviews and conducted nearly 50 one-on-one interviews with public health executives both inside and outside the agency, Dr. Valensky said.

The CDC has long been admired for its scientific approach to improving public health. Many scholars from around the world have been trained by its experts and have imitated the agency’s standards and techniques.

But the CDC’s infrastructure has been neglected for decades, along with the health care system as a whole. Agency scientists stumbled at the start of the pandemic with a misdiagnosis of the diagnostic test and gave some recommendations on camouflage, isolation and quarantine, which accused critics of being based on insufficient data.

On Friday, Dr. Valensky noted that health equity would be a priority for the agency in the future. The pandemic has revealed drastic racial and ethnic differences in health in the United States. Black, Hispanic, and Native American / Alaska Natives were hospitalized with Covid and died more often than white Americans.

The roots of inequality are many, and they include difficulties in accessing care, distrust of the health care system, higher levels of existing health problems such as obesity and diabetes, and socioeconomic circumstances such as overcrowded housing and work for consumers who increased the chances of exposure to the virus.

Dr Valensky said the lessons learned from the pandemic and its responses made it clear that “it is time to take a step back and strategically deploy the CDC to facilitate and support the future of public health with a strong focus on health and agency justice. basic opportunities ”.

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