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May 16, 1990

Director Knows Public Health Scene

JAMA. 1990;263(19):2563-2564. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440190013002

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VISITING the CDC as a county health officer from Birmingham, Ala, in 1979, William Lee Roper, MD, took part in a meeting that set goals for health in the United States to be achieved by 1990.

It's 1990 and he himself has achieved a goal: he is the CDC's new director. How does the new head of a multifaceted agency set about impressing his stamp on what is, in his own words, "the world's preeminent public health institution"?

Roper, who served as administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration from May 1986 to February 1989 and as President Bush's deputy assistant for domestic policy and director of the White House Office of Health Policy Development for the next 2 years, does not seem fazed by this task.

Considering the numerous responsibilities the agency has regarding health in the United States—and not infrequently in the rest of the world—Roper has called