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New director of CDC courts controversy from all angles

Published on: 10/07/17

It seems that an appointment in Trump’s administration cannot avoid being a topic of some controversy. That’s the case with the latest appointment of Brenda Fitzgerald as the Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The reasons why her appointment are controversial? Well, on one side she is a fellow in ‘anti-ageing medicine’ and, on the other, she is a vocal proponent of vaccinations for children.

Fitzgerald is a board-certified obstetrician-gynaecologist and worked, prior to her new position, as the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health for the previous six years.

However, this position has been put in the shadow after Forbes uncovered her previous role in marketing ‘anti-ageing medicine’, as part of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. This organisation fetes the use of intravenous nutritional therapy and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, amongst other treatments.

It is a controversial area because, as it is not regulated by the FDA, it does not have to display evidence for the claims it suggests being beneficial to promote ‘anti-ageing’ benefits.

This all serves to undermine what will undoubtedly be a relief for medical practitioners that Fitzgerald has vocally advocated the immunisation of children. This would have been a worry as Trump, during the course of the election campaign, signalled that he was sceptical of vaccination.

 There were fears that he could implement changes coming into his Presidency to undermine vaccinations efforts but this has, so far, not been the case. This appointment will serve to annoy those who voted for president on the hope that he would make such moves.

Fitzgerald has succeeded Tom Frieden, who resigned as CDC Director in January, as Obama’s administration came to a close. Tom Price, a congressman from Georgia and now head of the US Deparment of Health and Human Services installed Fitzgerald into position.

Price said of her appointment: “Having known Dr. Fitzgerald for many years, I know that she has a deep appreciation and understanding of medicine, public health, policy and leadership—all qualities that will prove vital as she leads the CDC in its work to protect America’s health 24/7. We look forward to working with Dr. Fitzgerald to achieve President Trump's goal of strengthening public health surveillance and ensuring global health security at home and abroad. Congratulations to Dr. Fitzgerald and her family.”

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