5 Functions of the CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is one of the most visible arms of the Department of Health and Human Services. While everyone has heard of the CDC, which operates its main office out of Atlanta, most people are not aware of everything this government agency does. To better understand the role of the CDC in American society, here are five critical functions of the CDC.

1. Control Outbreaks

Most people think of the CDC when infectious diseases start to spread. When the first cases of ebola were diagnosed in the United States, the CDC was on the scene to respond. Indeed, controlling outbreaks is a big part of what the CDC does. To do this, the CDC monitors for potential cases of a problematic disease, and investigators will examine every lead. If someone is infected with a dangerous disease, the CDC will often take charge to make sure that any potential outbreak is contained. However, the CDC will also monitor diseases in other countries in order to see if they pose a risk to the United States. In this way, the CDC provides comprehensive support to keep the public safe.

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2. Keep Records

Although it does not make as many headlines, record keeping is one of the most important things the CDC does. The CDC maintains statistics on almost every health concern in the United States. This includes statistics on HIV and ebola, but it also includes wider health issues such as alcohol abuse and breastfeeding. To do this, the CDC collects as much data as possible and analyzes it to provide comprehensive information about the health of the American public.

3. Support Local Health Centers

The CDC is a federal agency, but that does not mean that it does not have a local impact. Instead, the CDC works closely with local and regional health centers to ensure that everyone has access to the best treatment possible. This support often includes specialized training to make sure that every hospital and clinic can respond appropriately to a health crisis. This training may target specific health concerns, or it may be more general. Whatever the case, the CDC is an essential part of making sure that every health care facility responds safely, quickly and efficiently to health issues.

4. Education

The CDC also works hard to educate the public about important health issues. The CDC provides extensive information about diseases and other medical conditions. There are also specific educational initiatives aimed at telling the public about how to protect themselves. This could include proper hygiene, balanced diets and vaccine schedules. The CDC will also provide information about the spread of specific diseases, delineating details about how the disease is transmitted and how to limit one’s risk.

5. Health IT

One of the newest areas of expansion for the CDC is health IT. Since so much of the world is digital, the CDC has tried to make sure that health care has a safe and reliable IT outlet as well. This is why the CDC has been in charge of the Public Health Information Network, which provides a safe framework for health information to be shared digitally at all levels. This helps streamline communication between local and national health centers, creating standardized, secure records. The CDC also maintains one of the most comprehensive medical websites in the world, offering anyone critical health information on demand.

These broad functions cover a great deal of ground, which is why the CDC is one of the most essential government agencies in the United States.