Tuesday, November 30, 2004

New Public Health Blog: Effect Measure

There's a new public health blog in town: Effect Measure, "a forum for progressive public health discussion and argument as well as a source of public health information from around the web."

Written by the highly secretive and reclusive "Revere," who is "a senior public health scientist and practitioner. His name would be known to many in the public health community and to a few others in his (very specialized) area of scientific research. Since he has a public persona that involves frequent advisory committee work and public testimony he prefers to keep his online and public lives separate."

No, I don't know who he is, but I'm pretty sure he's not Centers for Disease Control Director Julie Gerberding. Revere thinks she's not the worst person who's served in that position. So what's her problem:

Same as Colin Powell. She seems to have carried a lot of water for the Bush Administration. CDC, a once proud and effective public health agency, has itself become marginalized and morale is at an all time low according to long-time employees. Again to be fair, one told me he thought she was doing her best within the Administration in private to fight for public health. Shades of Colin Powell. At that level, fighting for public health has to be done publicly and you have to be prepared to lose your job. Being fired over public health priorities would in itself be a valuable contribution. She isn't going to be out on the street living in a Kelvinator box. She'll have an easy time landing an academic or other position.

Moreover, much of the loss of agency morale is said to be traced to poor management. Gerberding has put in place a wholesale reorganization of CDC that has disconcerted and upset many. Leaving aside its virtues as an organization chart (and there is much to criticize here), she did it by fiat with little or no preparation within Congress or the agency. Major changes like this, which must have been in the works for awhile, need a great deal of attention to getting everyone onboard, and if, in that process, modifications need to be made, they can be. I am told that none of that was done.

Other stories include a report of the US bombing of a health center in Falluja, the environmental catastrophe we are creating in Iraq, and the Avian Flu.

Oh, and why "Revere?"
Paul Revere was a member of the first local Board of Health in the United States (Boston, 1799). The Editor signs his posts "Revere" only to recognize the public service of a professional forebearer better known for other things. A blog's credibiity will only be earned by the quality and interest of its posts.

Learn something new every day.

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