President on Friday appointed Dr. Thomas Frieden as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, turning to New York City’s health commissioner to deal with the and other major health issues.
Frieden has served as commissioner for the past seven years, where he led a campaign to ban smoking in restaurants and bars, boosted the getting HIV tests and helped to distribute millions of free condoms.
In a statement announcing Frieden’s appointment, Obama said the new CDC chief had been a “leader in the fight for , and his experiences confronting public health challenges in our country and abroad will be essential in this new role.”
Health experts say the CDC needs to make immediate improvements in employee morale and organization as the Obama administration works to overhaul the national health care system.
“Dr. Frieden is an expert in preparedness and response to health emergencies, and has been at the forefront of the fight against heart disease, cancer and obesity, infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and , and in the establishment of electronic health records,” Obama said in the statement.
Frieden, 48, is expected to take office next month. His appointment does not require Senate confirmation.
The White House announcement said acting CDC Director Dr. Rich Besser, who has led the CDC’s Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response for the past four years, would return to that position.