New York Health Commissioner Tapped for CDC Director

The top health official for New York City is the president's choice to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Washington Post and other news organizations reported today. Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., MPH, has served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene since January 2002. The department is one of the world's largest public health agencies, with an annual budget of $1.7 billion and more than 6,000 employees.

The nomination is subject to U.S. Senate confirmation. Frieden would lead the federal response to A(H1N1) influenza and other public health emergencies, and he would play a key role in the leadership, funding, and direction of NIOSH, which is part of CDC.

This morning, three schools in Queens, N.Y. are closing for at least five days because of flu illnesses -- both A(H1N1) and seasonal flu. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Frieden, and Education Chancellor Joel Klein announced the move Thursday.

Frieden's departmental bio says he is a specialist in tuberculosis control. He was appointed NYC health commissioner after working in India for five years and assisting national tuberculosis control efforts there. He began his career at the New York City Department of Health in 1990 as a CDC Epidemiologic Intelligence Service Officer, later serving as director of the Bureau of Tuberculosis Control and assistant commissioner from 1992-1996.

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