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CDC announces revamp plans, hires outside official for review

(Changes sourcing, adds plan details)

April 4 (Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday announced plans to revamp itself, with Director Rochelle Walensky hiring an outside senior federal health official to conduct a one-month review.

James Macrae, an associate administrator in the Department of Health and Human Services, will join CDC on a one-month assignment from April 11 to listen to and engage with the agency’s COVID-19 response activities, Walensky said in an email to her colleagues.

Macrae will provide Walensky insight into how CDC’s programs can be strengthened.

She has also asked three senior officials at CDC to gather feedback on the agency’s current structure and solicit suggestions for strategic change.

The review follows criticism for its response during the pandemic, from delays in developing a coronavirus test initially to its guidance over masking, isolation and quarantine being called confusing.

“As we’ve challenged our state and local partners, we know that now is the time for CDC to integrate the lessons learned into a strategy for the future,” Walensky said in a separate statement.

Walensky said the review will allow CDC to develop new systems and processes, with a keen focus on the agency’s core capabilities like public health workforce, laboratory capacity and rapid response to disease outbreaks. (Reporting by Leroy Leo in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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