Dr. Anne Schuchat, Acting CDC Director, Makes Day-Long Visit to CHFS

(L-R); Doug Thoroughman, assistant director of the Division of Epidemiology and Health Planning; CHFS Sec. Vickie Yates Brown Glisson; DPH Commissioner Dr. Hiram Polk, Jr.; Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC Acting Director; and Terry Bunn, Kentucky Injury and Research Prevention Center.

In one of her first official site visits since taking the helm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Dr. Anne Schuchat met with public health officials in Kentucky to discuss various programs and policies impacting the state’s public health system. Dr. Schuchat, CDC’s acting director, participated in day-long activities with staff from the Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), related to Kentucky’s opioid and drug overdose epidemic as well as sessions dealing with health data and analytics.

“I appreciate the chance to learn from the partnerships and programs that Kentucky has established to tackle the opioid epidemic and other public health challenges, said Dr. Schuchat, following her visit to Kentucky. “Hearing from people from public health, academia, coalitions, and public safety made a strong impression on me of the crucial role that partnerships play in protecting people’s health in Kentucky.”

“We were tremendously honored to host Dr. Schuchat in Kentucky today and greatly appreciate her time and invaluable insights into the American public health system,” said CHFS Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson. “The opioid epidemic is the number one public health crisis facing Kentucky. It is extremely beneficial for us to be able to share information and collaborate with CDC leadership on these issues as we work toward building a healthier state.”

Dr. Schuchat began her public health career in 1988 when she came to CDC as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer. She was principal deputy director of CDC during 2015-2017 and director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases from 2006-2015. She was promoted to Rear Admiral in the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service in 2006 and earned a second star in 2010. Dr. Schuchat was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) in 2008.

Dr. Schuchat has played key roles in a number of CDC emergency responses. Most notably, she served as Chief Health Officer for CDC’s 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza response; led the CDC team responding to the SARS outbreak in Beijing in 2003; and supported the Washington D.C. field team during the 2001 bioterrorist anthrax response.

“She has a unique overview of medicine and health in America and strong ideas about public health as an important profession,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Hiram C. Polk, Jr.

The sessions were held in DPH. Sec. Glisson, Deputy Secretary Judge Timothy Feeley, DPH Commissioner Dr. Hiram Polk and public health experts from across the Commonwealth got a chance to speak with the acting director about Kentucky’s relationship with the CDC and her plans for the agency.

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