HHS Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated to the Public. I. Agency Mission


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) are two of the operating components of the HHS. CDC has remained at the forefront of public health efforts to prevent and control infectious and chronic diseases, injuries, workplace hazards, disabilities, and environmental and occupational health threats for more than 50 years. CDC is the lead federal agency for protecting the health and safety of people — at home and abroad, providing credible information to enhance health decisions, and promoting health through strong partnerships.

CDC seeks to accomplish its mission by working with partners throughout the nation and world to monitor health, detect and investigate health problems, conduct research to enhance prevention, develop and advocate sound public health policies, implement prevention strategies and programs, promote healthy behaviors, foster safe and healthful environments, and provide leadership and training.

CDC has developed and sustained many vital partnerships with public and private entities that improve service to the American people. In FY 2000, the workforce of CDC comprised approximately 8,500 FTE in 170 disciplines with a public health focus. Although CDC's national headquarters is in Atlanta, Georgia, more than 2,000 CDC employees work at other locations nationwide including virtually all States. Approximately 160 are assigned overseas in 45 countries. In addition, CDC is comprised of 12 Centers, Institutes, and Offices (CIOs). These organizational components, listed below, respond individually in their areas of expertise and pool their resources and expertise on cross-cutting issues and specific health threats.

  • National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
  • National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
  • National Center for Environmental Health
  • 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
  • Office of the Director

ATSDR was established in 1980 by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, also known as Superfund. ATSDR works to prevent exposures to hazardous wastes and to environmental releases of hazardous substances. Working with States and other Federal agencies, ATSDR seeks to prevent exposure and adverse health effects associated with exposure to hazardous substances from waste sites. The agency conducts public health assessments, health studies, surveillance activities and health education training in communities around waste sites or exposed to environmental releases. ATSDR also develops toxicological profiles of hazardous chemicals found at these sites. The agency has 10 regional offices and an office in Washington, DC, and a staff of about 400 persons.

Although CDC and ATSDR are separate agencies, both strive to protect and improve the health of the American public. The Director of CDC also serves as the Administrator of ATSDR.

Unless otherwise specified, all subsequent references to CDC also include ATSDR and all practices and procedures described in this document apply to both agencies.