CDC Announces Leadership Change for CFS Research Program
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that Dr. William C. Reeves, head of the agency’s CFS Research Program, will be taking a new position within the agency effective Feb. 14, 2010 and that he will no longer lead the agency’s CFS research. Dr. Elizabeth Unger will serve as acting chief of the Chronic Viral Diseases Branch, the unit within CDC that houses the CFS Research Program. On Feb. 14, Dr. Reeves will begin an assignment as Senior Advisor for Mental Health Surveillance in the Public Health Surveillance Program Office within the CDC’s Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services.
The CFIDS Association of America, other organizations and advocates have vocally supported new program leadership to effect a more robust research effort at CDC. This staffing change has the potential to significantly advance CFS research beyond the agency's intramural program and to seize scientific momentum generated by recent discoveries. We are fully dedicated to making rapid progress in this new era of collaboration and discovery in CFS research.
K. Kimberly McCleary
President & CEO
The CFIDS Association of America
January 29, 2010
Elizabeth R. Unger, PhD, MD
Biosketch of Dr. Elizabeth Unger
Beginning on February 14, 2010, Elizabeth R. Unger, PhD, MD, will serve as acting chief of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Chronic Viral Diseases Branch (CVDB). Dr. Unger is presently the team leader for Molecular Pathology Laboratory in the CVDB branch that has housed the CFS research program since it was created in the late 1980s. (The Chronic Viral Diseases Branch is the former Viral Exanthems and Herpesvirus Branch, renamed in 2006 after a series of reorganizations with few changes to its programs.)
Dr. Unger’s undergraduate bachelor of science degree in chemistry was earned at Lebanon Valley College. She then attended University of Chicago where she earned her PhD in experimental pathology while working toward her MD. She completed her residency at University of Chicago and Hershey Medical Center. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Pathology in anatomic pathology. An article titled, “The Pathologist in Research,” can be found at http://www.asip.org/Career/pathologistinresearch.htm.
For 11 years, she was an assistant, then associate, professor in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine at Emory University. In 1997, she joined the CDC’s staff as section chief, molecular pathology laboratory in the Viral Exanthems and Herpesvirus Branch within the National Center for Infectious Diseases.
She has approximately 125 peer-reviewed publications and 24 book chapters on human papillomavirus (HPV), cervical cancer, HIV, chronic fatigue syndrome and laboratory techniques used to study infectious agents. She helped establish CDC’s partnership with the National Cancer Institute for the Early Detection Research Network.
Dr. Unger was a founding member of the Association of Molecular Pathology and has served on numerous editorial boards, committees and working groups across academic and institutional settings, including for the World Health Organization, Food and Drug Administration, Gates Foundation Global Health Program, American Social Health Association and College of American Pathologists.
Notes About CDC's Organizational Structure
The Chronic Viral Diseases Branch is housed in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, under the Office of Infectious Diseases. CDC proposed an agency-wide reorganization on Dec. 28, 2009 (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-30677.htm). This restructuring, new leadership of CDC under Dr. Thomas Frieden, and changes that occurred after the election of President Obama mean that many leadership positions at CDC (and other federal agencies) are filled by individuals under temporary appointments, or “acting” designations. A larger view of CDC’s organizational chart can be viewed at http://www.cdc.gov/maso/pdf/CDC_Chart_wNames.pdf. This chart itself is marked “INTERIM” and staff designated with (A) are acting (as of Jan. 19. 2010).
Under the Dec. 28, 2009 proposed restructuring, the National Center for Preparedness, Detection, and Control of Infectious Diseases (NCPDCID) and the National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases (NCZVED) are proposed to be realigned into a single center with the title “National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disesases” (NCEZID).
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