Obama Names New York City Health Commissioner Frieden Next CDC Director, New York Times Reports
President Obama on Friday named New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden as the next CDC director, the New York Times reports. It has long been expected that Obama would select Frieden, an infectious disease specialist, according to the Times. In his seven years as health commissioner of New York City, Frieden pushed to establish HIV testing as a part of routine medical exams and advocated for a condom-distribution program that provides more than 35 million condoms annually. Frieden is expected to take office in June and does not require Senate confirmation for the position. He will replace Richard Besser, the current acting director of CDC, who will return to his position as head of CDC's coordinating office for terrorism preparedness and emergency response.
Several HIV/AIDS and health care advocates praised the appointment, according to the Times. Dennis deLeon, president of the Latino Commission on AIDS in New York City, said that Frieden is "willing to challenge the status quo in an effort to make a difference." Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the not-for-profit group Trust for America's Health, said that Frieden is a "transformational leader" who "can take public health to a new place" (Harris/Hartocollis, New York Times, 5/15).