with respect to certain of their functions, but these do not seem to impinge on organizational decisions.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began life as the Communicable Disease Center in 1946. It was transferred to the new Department of Health, Education, and Welfare along with other parts of the Public Health Service in 1953 under Reorganization Plan No. 1. Its name was changed to the Center for Disease Control in 1970 (apparently without statutory direction or ratification) and changed again administratively to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1980 to reflect a new organization of the agency. So far as we can ascertain, all this was done without explicit statutory authority, because we can find no statute creating or naming the agency, although by this date there were many references in the Public Health Service Act and other statutes to the Center for Disease Control. However, in 1992, P.L. 102-531 amended all statutory references to the Center for Disease Control to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since there is no statute establishing CDC or its director, or directing how or through whom it reports to the secretary, the secretary has considerable discretion as to how it is organized, where it should be placed within the department, and what its relationship should be to other components that have related missions. However, the statute is very specific with respect to the programs that are to be administered through CDC. Although there are few directions in law as to the internal organization of CDC,10 the Public Health Service Act is replete with provisions directing that various programs or activities of the PHS shall be carried out “through” the CDC. While not dictating a particular organizational structure or reporting relationship, these dozens of statutory provisions will have to be taken into account in any restructuring of PHS programs. The functions and activities that the statute requires to be performed through CDC are listed in the appendix.


Section 317C of the PHSA establishes within CDC a center to be known as the National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. We are not aware of other organization entities that are made part of CDC by statute. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health was established within HHS in 1970 (29 U.S.C.A. ­§ 671), but its organizational placement within CDC was an administrative decision.

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