From welcome support for vaccines to questionable support for the “science” of anti-aging, we’re reading about Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, newly named to lead the CDC

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Brenda Fitzgerald – Meet Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health and State Health Officer, board-certified Obstetrician-Gynecologist and a Fellow in Anti-Aging Medicine, with three decades of medical practice behind her, according to her bio on the Georgia DPH website. With a record of supporting the value of vaccinations and high rates of childhood immunization coverage in Georgia , her appointment to be the next director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was a relative relief to public health watchers concerned by President Trump’s indications of support for debunked theories linking vaccines and autism. But with political experience far out-distancing the six years she has served in the Georgia post, the priorities that will guide her approach to leading an agency slated for deep cuts under the White House budget plan remain unclear. In addition, what is “anti-aging medicine?” We’re reading questions and answers about the latest Trump appointee.

Babies need their vaccines – The good news comes in this Atlanta Journal Constitution opionion piece offered by Dr. Fitzgerald in 2014, in which she wrote: “I’ve heard all the arguments against vaccination. All have been debunked, including the infamous 1980s study in Europe about a similar vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella, and a supposed link – that we now know to be false – to autism, which shattered vaccine use in Europe. Outbreaks now plague the Continent, and here in the U.S., signs of trouble are building.”

Public health groups call for increased resources to combat the spread of Zika Virus — This article  highlights heartening support for well-resourced public health systems, written in April 2017 when, as President-elect of the Association of State and Territorial Officials, Dr. Fitzgerald argued for continued funding to control the spread of Zika and its impacts noting: “Public health has a long history of combating and eradicating mosquito-borne diseases, but ensuring robust epidemiological and laboratory infrastructure across the governmental public health system is critical to stay ahead of the spread of Zika virus.”

Public health leaders see strong choice in new CDC director – Enumerating the current challenges, and those ahead for the CDC, as well as Dr. Fitzgerald’s qualifications, public health advocates weigh in here with optimism.

STAT News reports on Dr. Fitzgerald’s appointment – Here STAT global health and infectious disease writer Helen Branswell reviews some of the questions — and a few of the indications — of what lies ahead for CDC’s international work, noting: “The CDC is the preeminent global disease detection and control agency, and has outposts in a number of countries overseas. There is deep concern at the agency that the new administration’s views on placing American interests first may lead to a retrenchment of the CDC’s work abroad.”

New CDC head Fitzgerald peddled controversial “anti-aging medicine” before leaving private practice – So what is “anti-aging medicine?” Snake oil, according to a fellow OB-Gyn physician at New York University’s School of Medicine, who calls the thought of a newly named CDC head endorsing the approach “scary.”

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