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CDC Director To Speak at Public Health School Commencement

The News in Brief

By Steven H. Tenzer, Crimson Staff Writer

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, who has served as the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since May 2009, will headline the School of Public Health’s centennial Commencement exercises on Thursday, May 29.

As the director of the CDC, Frieden has worked to extend life-saving treatment, prevent disease, and control infection in more than 50 countries.

On his CDC Director’s Blog last week, Frieden wrote, “The U.S. government and our international partners have an unprecedented opportunity to make the world—and ourselves—stronger and safer through our commitment to closer cooperation on global health issues.”

When appointed as CDC director in 2009, Frieden headed America’s response to the H1N1 influenza virus pandemic.

Frieden has supported programs that control tobacco usage and launched the first-ever nationally sponsored anti-tobacco media campaign.

Prior to working as CDC director, he served as the New York City Health Commissioner from 2002 to 2009. As commissioner, he worked on a variety of tobacco control efforts, including increasing taxes on tobacco, banning smoking from places such as restaurants and bars, and funding an anti-tobacco advertisement campaign. During his tenure, the number of smokers in New York City dropped by an estimated 350,000.

Frieden also made New York City the first place in the United States to remove trans fat from restaurants and require some restaurants to display calorie information. While he was commissioner, the New York City Health Department created the largest community electronic health records project in the country.

—Staff writer Steven H. Tenzer can be reached at

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