President Obama Picks New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden for CDC Director
President Obama on Friday appointed New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden as CDC director, according to Obama administration officials, the New York Times reports. According to the Times, Frieden, an infectious disease specialist, has "cut a high and sometimes contentious profile" in his seven years as health commissioner in New York City, during which time he has advocated for a smoking ban in restaurants and bars, made HIV testing part of routine medical exams and protected a program that distributes 35 million condoms a year.
According to the Times, Frieden is expected to take office next month. The Times reports that he will "inherit a host of immediate and long-term problems," including questions surrounding a vaccine for the H1N1 influenza virus, also known as swine flu, health care reform and organizational issues at CDC.
The Times reports that a potential advantage for Frieden is a positive relationship with likely FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, who also was New York City health commissioner. Frieden would work with Hamburg to combat the H1N1 flu virus and to re-evaluate the U.S. food safety system (Harris/Hartocollis, New York Times, 5/15).