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ATS Joins Effort to Support Federal Research and Public Health Workforce

March 6, 2017 at 12:20 pm

Last week, the ATS joined the Infectious Disease Society of America and the American Public Health Association in a letter to President Trump urging the administration to maintain federal public health and biomedical research workforce capacity as long-term federal hiring strategy is finalized.  The letter, signed by over 100 public health and research organizations, emphasized the roles played by staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the Food and Drug Administration in responding to national and global public health emergencies, public safety, and national security. Concerning the CDC, the letter states, “Maintaining public health workforce capacity before an emergency occurs is necessary to ensure that an emergency is rapidly and accurately identified and that an effective response is triggered swiftly.”  Regarding NIH, it states, “Researchers at NIH conduct groundbreaking research on diseases and conditions that pose serious threats to public safety, including cancer, birth defects and infectious diseases.”

During his first week in office, President Trump imposed a 90-day federal hiring freeze. However, the order stated that jobs that respond to public health and medical emergencies (such as the opioid epidemic, pandemic influenza, Ebola and Zika), and positions related to food, drug and medical device safety are exempt from the freeze.  Long-term federal hiring strategy is expected to be finalized later this year.

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