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Working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
by Valerie Anderson Minority Nurse Writer
Have you ever received an email about how that can of cola sitting on your desk is (supposedly) tainted and potentially life threatening? Or how about the one alleging scores of women across the country are dying from inhaling free perfume samples sent to them in the mail? Do you ever scratch your head at these anonymous messages (after promptly sending them to the “recycle bin”) and wonder—could they be true? The best way to find out is to contact the ever-trusty Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It's their job, after all, to separate the truth from the fiction, and they make such information known on their Web site at www.cdc.gov/hoax_rumors.htm.
The CDC, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, located in Atlanta, Ga. , does far more than just de-bunk urban legends, however. In actuality, they do exactly what all people in allied health do everyday—they work hard to make people in the U.S. safer and healthier.
The CDC is made up of 12 centers, institute and offices: National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities; National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; National Center for Environmental Health; Office of Genomics and Disease Prevention; National Center for Health Statistics; National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention; National Center for Infectious Diseases; National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; National Immunization Program; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Epidemiology Program Office; Public Health Practice Program Office; and Office of the Director.
Enhancing the Health and Well Being of U.S. Citizens
Since 1946, the CDC, working closely with other health and community organizations, has been tackling health problems. According to their Web site (www.CDC.gov), the center develops and applies disease prevention and control programs. They also create environmental health promotion programs as well as education activities.
The mission of CDC is to “promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury and disability.” The center is currently the leading federal agency protecting the health and safety of U.S. citizens by “providing credible information to enhance health decisions and promoting health through strong partnerships.” Most importantly, the CDC plays a critical role in protecting the public from the most widespread, deadly and mysterious threats against our health today and tomorrow. And in our post-9/11 world, with increasing concerns about bioterrorism like anthrax outbreaks and smallpox, the CDC job is even more important.
Sound Like a Job for You?
Today the CDC employs over 8,500 people across the country in fields from medicine to engineering to science and other health professions. Interested in joining their ranks? Most of CDC's staff is employed through the Federal Civil Service system where salary is determined by position and qualification. Benefits, however, are stellar and include health and life insurance, vacation and sick leave, retirement plan and social security coverage.
In addition, the CDC offers special benefits to all employees including, continuing education; lifestyle activities (exercise, fitness testing, weight management, smoking cessation, cholesterol screening); child care center; medical clinic; employee assistance program; credit union; and an employee organization for recreational and community events.
In order to meet the public health challenges of the future, the CDC needs scientists and health professionals to staff new or expanding program areas: breast and cervical cancer prevention, immunization, environmental concerns, injury prevention, occupational safety and health, infant health, preventive medicine, lead poisoning prevention, health statistics and others.
And as an employee of the CDC, you have more living options then just the headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. There are also offices in the Washington, D.C.; Anchorage, Alaska; Cincinnati; Fort Collins, Colo.; Morgantown, W. Va.; Pittsburgh; Research Triangle Park, N.C.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Spokane, Wash., as well as quarantine offices and local health agencies in other U.S. states and other countries.
For those in the field of allied health, the CDC offers the perfect opportunity for learning and professional growth. The Center has a vital continuing education program, both in-house and off-site, for all employees and brings in experts in the allied health fields for lecture series. Visiting scientists from around the world meet with CDC employees to learn and share their expertise as well.
As a health professional, you may be eligible for the Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps, an all-officer organization. For more information, contact U.S. Public Health Service Recruitment at (800) 279-1606 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information about health careers in the CDC, and to find out about current employment opportunities, you can call their 24-hour job line, which has a recorded message that is updated weekly: (888) CDC-HIRE.
For a complete listing of positions with CDC and other Federal agencies. Or call the Job Information Center at the Koger Center/Stanford Building, (770) 488-1725.
Applications for specific vacancies can be sent to: Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, Human Resources Management, Office Mail Stop K-16, 4770 Buford Highway , Atlanta , GA 30341-3724.