Gerberding Named CDC Director and ATSDR Administrator
Julie L. Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H., was named director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and administrator for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in July. Dr. Gerberding had been serving as the acting principal deputy director of the CDC, and had served as part of the leadership team named to direct the agency since the resignation of former director Jeffrey Koplan, M.D., on March 31. She is also an associate clinical professor of medicine at Emory University, Atlanta, and is on leave of absence as an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. An expert in infectious diseases, she has been leading the CDC's efforts to prepare for and counter terrorism. “Dr. Gerberding knows public health, she knows infectious diseases, and she knows bioterrorism preparedness,” Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. “She brings the right mix of professional experience and leadership skills to ensure the CDC continues to meet the nation's public health needs.” Dr. Gerberding joined the CDC in 1998 as director of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, and she also has served as acting deputy director of the CDC's National Center for Infectious Diseases.
Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act Introduced to Congress
A bill was introduced to Congress in June that would provide legal protection to health care professionals who voluntarily report nonidentifiable patient information for the purposes of quality improvement and patient safety. The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act (S. 2590), introduced by Sen. James Jeffords (I-Vt.) and Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), classifies information documented, collected, or prepared for submission to a patient safety reporting system, as privileged and confidential, and creates federal protections against disclosure in civil, criminal, or administrative proceedings. The bill, which is supported by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), also requires patient safety organizations to create a mechanism of feedback for health care professionals reporting information to allow them to learn from the reported nonidentified information of others. “This legislation would create a system for reporting nonidentified patient safety information that focuses on preventing and correcting system failures and not on assigning individual or organizational blame,” said Richard G. Roberts, M.D., J.D., AAFP board chair. In this bill, patient safety responsibilities would be overseen by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
New Web Site Promotes Healthy Eating, Active Lifestyles for Children
A new Web site,www.Kidnetic.com, was launched recently aimed at promoting a balance of healthy eating and an active lifestyle for children nine to 12 years of age. The Kidnetic Web site includes games, message board, fun facts, exercise tips, recipes, and educational articles about healthy eating designed to educate and entertain. Researchers spent two years gathering information from children nine to 12 years of age and parents of children in that age group to understand their attitudes about food, health, and physical activity. This is the first project of ACTIVATE, an education outreach initiative developed jointly by the International Food Information Council Foundation in partnership with the AAFP, American College of Sports Medicine, American Dietetic Association, International Life Sciences Institute Center for Health Promotion, and the National Recreation and Park Association. The initiative was also funded by unrestricted grants from 10 food, beverage, and agricultural corporations; however, no advertisements appear on the Web site.
HHS Awards Grants to Promote Abstinence Education for Teenagers
HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson recently announced 95 new community-based abstinence education grants totaling $27.7 million to assist communities in the creation and implementation of abstinence-only education and related programs for young people 12 to 18 years of age. The HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration awarded 40 implementation grants totaling $18.3 million and 18 planning grants totaling almost $1.6 million to public and private entities such as community-based and faith-based organizations, hospitals, health centers, school systems, and other youth services agencies. A separate HHS entity, the Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs, released $7.8 million in grants for 37 abstinence demonstration projects to be run by public and private agencies, universities, hospitals, and faith-based organizations. The abstinence education programs are designed to reduce the number of adolescents who have engaged in premarital sexual activity, thereby reducing the number of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. “Abstinence education programs create an environment within communities that supports teens in their decision to remain abstinent until marriage,” said Secretary Thompson.
WONCA Web Site Provides Global Medical News
The new Web site of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA),www.globalfamilydoctor.com, includes all of the information from their old Web site and offers news and information, forums of communication, and educational programs related to global family medicine. The Daily News Centre provides synopses of relevant medical articles, news briefs, diagnostic challenges, reviews of books related to family medicine, profiles of WONCA personalities, humorous anecdotes, and opportunities for discussion among members. The Internet Resources section includes links to over 100 online journals, over 20 literature search facilities, over 30 sites with patient information and education, over 30 family medicine mailing lists, links to a small collection of medical books, and links to over 100 medical sites. The site also includes a section on current research projects, several WONCA publications, and an online shopping center for books and multimedia educational material. WONCA is developing another section to the Web site that will be for patients and the general public.