May 16, 1990

Assistant Director, Science: Furthering CDC Goals

JAMA. 1990;263(19):2616. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440190072034

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"YOU GO OUT there and you get the job done," sums up Mary E. Guinan, MD, PhD, about her initial CDC experience as an Epidemic Intelligence Officer in 1975 working on smallpox eradication in India. Guinan is now the agency's Assistant Director for Science.

In her role as overseer of the scientific effort at the CDC, she serves as the primary advisor to the director and program managers on scientific matters, which includes developing the agency's position on scientific issues that involve other agencies or that are complex or controversial. The assistant director for science serves as liaison with the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration on all scientific issues. This may involve encouraging collaborative studies, like the ongoing tracking survey of children who received natural growth hormone and subsequently developed Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Guinan also oversees the CDC Office of Health and Safety. That's a demanding