Team of four will lead CDC until new director is named

April 2, 2002 (CIDRAP News) – A team of four people—three insiders and one outsider—will lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) until a successor to departing director Jeffrey P. Koplan is named, according to Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.

Thompson announced that the team consists of David Fleming, MD, who will serve as acting director; James Hughes, MD, and Julie Gerberding, MD, who will lead the agency's bioterrorism-related efforts; and Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, who will serve as Thompson's personal representative at CDC during the transition period. Osterholm is director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), the operator of this Web site.

Thompson named the management team late on Mar 29, the day Koplan stepped down after serving as director since October 1998. Koplan has been named vice president for academic health affairs at Emory University in Atlanta.

Fleming is the CDC's deputy director for science and public health, Hughes is director of the CDC's National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID), and Gerberding is acting deputy director of the NICD. The three will keep their current positions while serving on the interim team, according to Bill Pierce, an HHS press spokesman. "The search is on for a permanent director, so there's no sense that this will be for an extended period of time," Pierce said. "Oftentimes in these situations, the person is doing double duty on their job."

Fleming has been in his current position since he joined the CDC in June 2000, Pierce said. Hughes joined the agency in 1973 and has directed the NCID since 1992, while Gerberding has been with the agency since 1998. She led the CDC Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (formerly called the Hospital Infection Program) before assuming her position with the NCID. The NCID manages the CDC's bioterrorism response team, according to Pierce.

While directing CIDRAP, Osterholm has been advising Thompson on bioterrorism and public health preparedness since last September. He said he will be serving on the CDC management team in a part-time capacity for up to 3 months, during which he will continue to lead CIDRAP. "I remain actively involved in the center as its director," he said.

Osterholm has been an outspoken advocate of improving the nation's preparedness for bioterrorism and other threats to public health for the past several years. He formerly served as Minnesota's state epidemiologist, and he is the author, with John Schwartz, of the book Living Terrors: What America Needs to Know to Survive the Coming Bioterrorist Catastrophe, published in 2000.

See also:
HHS announcement of the interim management team

Newsletter Sign-up

Get CIDRAP news and other free newsletters.

Sign up now»


Unrestricted financial support provided by

Bentson Foundation 3MAccelerate DiagnosticsGilead 
Grant support for ASP provided by


  Become an underwriter»