Headquartered in Atlanta Georgia, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services responsible for the protection of public health and safety. The CDC was founded in 1946 after the disbandment of the Malaria Control in War Areas program from World War II. Originally focusing on sexually transmitted disease and malaria, the CDC soon expanded its mission to the control and prevention of chronic diseases, disabilities, environmental health, and emerging diseases (“Records of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”, 2016).

However, the organization soon recognized that global health issues also played an integral role in influencing domestic health. The CDC sheds light on this reality by stating that the United States is “only as safe as the most fragile state” (“Global Health Protection and Security”, 2016). Thus, the CDC founded the Division of Global Health Protection (DGHP) as a branch of the organization with a main focus on global health protection. The DGHP establishes procedures to help prevent the spread and emergence of world pandemics and accomplishes these goals by utilizing a diverse set of strategic programs to help address the collective vulnerabilities of global medicine.

Within the DGHP is the Global Disease Detection Operations Center (GDDOC), a center that currently tracks more than 300 outbreaks in 130 countries for more than 40 different diseases. Last year, the GDDOC was responsible for issuing over 1,000 reports for outbreaks of diseases such as MERS, ZIKA, and Cholera. The division also continues to track preexisting diseases such as global polio and flu incidences. The staff ensures that medical information from a global network of public health agencies are verified and reviewed. Furthermore, the division gathers and disseminates the information for possible threat analysis (“Global Disease Detection Operations Center”, 2016).

On-site global disease prevention work is done through the CDC’s Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) branch. The workforce of over 1,200 trainees cover over 70 countries and can respond to potential outbreaks around the world. The program also trains upcoming field epidemiologists around the world, allowing them to collect and interpret data and contribute to the global health initiative. These FETP workers allow the CDC to work on the frontlines at a local level so that threats can be quickly detected and stopped (Field Epidemiology Training Program). Similar to the FETP, the CDC’s Global Rapid Response Team (Global RRT) is a team of 50 global health security experts each month ready to deploy anywhere in the world within 48 hours. The team of RRT workers increase the CDC’s and international public health agencies’ emergency response capabilities. In its first year alone, the RRT responded to over 3,000 person days for yellow fever, Ebola, mass gatherings, and more (“Field Epidemiology Training Program”, 2016).

In 2017, the DGHP aims to expand collaborative work with global partners, other U.S. government agencies, and public health experts from around the world to improve global health and protect the safety of Americans (“Global Health Protection and Security”, 2016). While little to nothing is known about where and when the next outbreak will occur, the CDC is very active in establishing and maintaining programs that ensure an effective response to such crises.


“Records of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” (2004). National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved from https://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/442.html.

“Global Health Protection and Security.” (2016). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/healthprotection/ghs/index.html.

“Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP).” (2016). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/healthprotection/fetp/

“Global Disease Detection (GDD) Operations Center.” (2016). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/healthprotection/gddopscenter/.

Posted by Roy Cheng

Roy is a freshman studying Molecular and Cellular Biology. Although born in New Jersey, he grew up in Taipei, Taiwan. On campus, he is involved in the Taiwanese American Student Association, AED as a emergency room volunteer, and WJHU radio as a DJ. He is also involved in research in professor’s Chen lab studying asymmetric histone division and was awarded the Provost’s Undergraduate Research Award (PURA) for his work. Outside of class, Roy enjoys traveling.

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