Harvard School of Public Health Snags CDC's Director as Commencement Speaker

Dr. Tom Frieden, M.D., MPH, will be the speaker at its commencement ceremonies May 29.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, M.D., MPH, will be the speaker at the Harvard School of Public Health's commencement ceremonies in Boston on May 29. The school was founded in 1913 and grew out of the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers, which was the nation's first graduate training program in public health.

Frieden became CDC's director in June 2009 after serving as commissioner of the New York City Health Department from 2002 to 2009. He actually returned to CDC in 2009, having worked for the agency from 1990 until 2002. He is a physician with training in internal medicine, infectious diseases, public health, and epidemiology.

While at the NYC Health Department, he directed the campaign that reduced the number of smokers by 350,000 and cut teen smoking by half there, and New York City also became the first place in the United States to eliminate trans-fats from restaurants during his tenure and to require certain restaurants to post calorie information. He became CDC's director in June 2009, when the agency was extensively involved in tracking and understanding the H1N1 flu pandemic that developed that year. WHO raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6 on June 11, 2009, and CDC held its first news conference that day about the outbreak with Frieden as its new chief. More than 3,300 CDC employees were involved in the agency's response to the outbreak.

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