Former CDC Head Warns of Threats Biological and Political – Scientific American

Public Health 60-Second Science

Former CDC Head Warns of Threats Biological and Political

Tom Frieden, head of the CDC from 2009 to 2017, told graduating medical students that we face challenges from pathogens, and from politicians.

“Einstein wrote, ‘Striving for social justice is the most valuable thing to do in life.’”

Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2009 to earlier this year. Frieden addressed the graduating class of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine here in New York City May 23rd, 2017.

“Scientific rigor and social conscience don’t always go together. Some individuals and some institutions may lack one, the other or both. But together they are a remarkably powerful combination. And we need them both. Because we face some real threats. We face threats from nature—whether it’s the next Ebola or Zika or SARS or pandemic influenza or HIV, it is just a few mutations away.

“We face threats, frankly, from killer industries, tobacco and other unhealthy and addictive substances. And we face threats from policy makers, who may deny quality medical care and prevention to millions of people in this country and around the world…We’re also faced with the threat that America could retreat from or undermine our role in the world.

“Einstein wrote that ‘Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.’ I’m confident that with your commitment to caring for patients, to advancing knowledge, to social justice, you will help prevent and stop the threat of that infantile disease. Every single one of us has that responsibility.”

—Steve Mirsky

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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