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July 19, 2016 1:14 PMCategory: Health Equity

CDC Celebrates Seven Decades of Firsts

CDC 70On July 1, 1946, what was then known as the Communicable Disease Center (CDC), was founded as part of the United States Public Health Service with an initial focus on fighting malaria. Today, known as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC is a global leader in public health and the premiere health promotion, disease prevention and emergency preparedness agency in the U.S. Throughout the past 70 years the CDC has successfully managed and contained many health threats and continues to protect the health of our nation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

CDC has a wide and varied reach and has frequently been a part of the headlines in recent years due to a number of scares related to infectious diseases. However, their work goes well beyond infectious disease control and prevention. The Plan4Health project, and many like it, would not have been possible without the support of the CDC. CDC’s Division of Community Health (DCH) has funded numerous projects over the past few decades that have helped strengthen community efforts to prevent chronic disease and promote healthy living. This funding helps these communities make healthy living easier while at the same time promoting health equity throughout our nation.

Read more about a few of CDC’s notable achievements and events related to chronic disease prevention, below. For a more comprehensive list of CDC achievements, check out this CDC Timeline from the David J. Spencer CDC Museum.

  • 1960 – The first National Health Examination Survey is conducted to collect data on the total prevalence of certain chronic diseases as well as the distribution of various physical and physiological measures. This survey is now known as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
  • 1964 – The first Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health is released.
  • 1970 – The Nutrition Program is transferred to CDC. This program assesses severe malnutrition in the U.S. and abroad.
  • 1975 – CDC’s Chronic Disease Division is established.
  • 1979 – CDC published the first iteration of Healthy People: The Surgeon General’s Report on Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. For the first time, ambitious, quantifiable objectives to improve the nation’s health are established.
  • 1988 – The Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion is established to help target chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.

As part of the anniversary celebration, a special Public Health Grand Rounds was held with the current director as well as six former directors of the CDC. This opportunity allowed them to share their insights about their tenure and what they believe the future holds for the organization and public health.

A recording of this event will be available on the CDC website in the near future:

Here’s to another 70 years of leadership in the field and helping to protect our nation while making it a healthier place for all.

Picture and video courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention