SINCE THE MID-1950s, the CDC has maintained an office in Washington, DC. Originally it served only as liaison with the executive branch, but in the past decade functions have expanded.
In its present form, the office dates to 1980. The CDC's director at the time was William Foege, MD, and the then secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Joseph A. Califano, relied on him so heavily that Foege was spending more time in Washington than in Atlanta.
So it was decided to set up an office staff who could represent the director when he could not be in Washington, says George Hardy, MD, the present director of the office, who adds: "Frequently, there are meetings of Public Health Service agency heads or conferences where all the agencies are supposed to be represented. This cuts down on travel and yet makes sure the CDC is represented."