[VIDEO] 10 things every health official should know

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Dr. Thomas Frieden is the Director of the U.S. Centers...

Dr. Thomas Frieden is the Director of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Acting Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). In the video below, he shares 10 things every health official should know.

1. Get good data. Data is the lifeblood of public health. This is what enables you to determine what the major problems are, what can be done about them and whether your programs are succeeding.

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2. Prioritize and do the hard stuff first. It’s very important that you decide what you want to get done and move quickly to get those things done.

3. Fight and win winnable battles. Figure out what you can do to make a difference.

4. Hire great people and protect them so they can do their job. Hiring great people is the single most important thing that you must do.

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5. Address communicable diseases and environmental health. Communicable diseases remain very important challenges and environmental health remains something that people are both very concerned about and that causes significant health problems.

6. Don’t cede the clinical realm. Understanding and being able to improve clinical care is essential to just about every aspect of public health.

7. Learn the budget cycle. There is a natural rhythm to the budget in most jurisdictions, and it’s very important to understand it.

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8. Manage the context. The context determines your degree of freedom to operate. A lot of that means messaging things clearly.

9. Never surprise your boss. If something is going to happen, it is very important that your boss hears about it from you before reading about it in the newspaper or hearing about it in the news.

10. Follow these five key principles, laid out by Walter Dowdle, who was deputy director of the CDC.

  • Be a diligent steward of the funds entrusted to your agency
  • Provide an environment for intellectual and personal growth and integrity
  • Base all public health decisions on the highest quality scientific data, openly and objectively derived
  • Place the benefits to society above the benefits to the institution
  • Treat all persons with dignity, honesty and respect

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