November 02, 2018

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield visits Missouri Capitol

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) visited the Capitol of the State of Missouri on Thursday, November 1 to meet with Governor Mike Parson and state health officials.

Topics of conversation included: opioids and a recent grant to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and our ongoing efforts to help families affected by this epidemic in Missouri; the national underutilization of influenza vaccinations and the Governor's participation in a new flu shot campaign launching statewide yesterday; and the importance of access to healthcare, but especially behavioral health services, throughout Missouri.

\"It's important to me to be proactive versus reactive, and the meeting with Dr. Redfield allowed us to have a conversation with the CDC about how we can better partner to prevent and protect Missourian's health,\" said Governor Parson.

After the conversations with the Governor, Redfield traveled to the Missouri State Public Health Lab (SPHL), which is one recipient of CDC funding in Missouri. On average, the CDC provides grant funds equaling $50,313,815 to various entities in the State of Missouri. Of that, DHSS receives approximately $44,352,168 to support a variety of health preparedness and response programs.

\"Dr. Redfield was a physician to six thousand patients prior to becoming CDC Director, and he brings a physician's caring to that role. As we fulfill Governor Parson's mission of maximizing our workforce and infrastructure to help all Missourians both now and in the future, we are very appreciative of Dr. Redfield and the CDC and all of our federal partnerships that help us protect health in Missouri,\" said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director.

A recent $3.1 million grant from the CDC is focused on specific activities for strengthening public health's role in preventing opioid addiction.  Particular emphasis is placed on advancing the understanding of the opioid epidemic and scaling up targeted prevention activities. The grant will enhance the availability and analysis of timely, high-quality data that is critical to help public health officials effectively respond to the epidemic. Additionally, opioid abuse prevention education for Missouri's public will involve awareness campaigns focused on reducing addiction, ensuring knowledge of community resources and reducing the life-threatening effects of the epidemic.

The SPHL portion of the grant will enhance existing infrastructure to develop an opioid bio-surveillance system in Missouri. New methodology will be implemented to identify and track the prevalence of fentanyl analogs occurring in the state.

The opioid overdose epidemic is a complex public health issue requiring an interdisciplinary and rapid public health response. Data enhancements will help expand understanding the extent of the problem, focus resources where they are needed most, and evaluate the success of prevention and response efforts.

The most recent visit by a CDC Director to the State of Missouri prior to Redfield's visit yesterday was in 2009 when the CDC Director visited Kansas City, Missouri.

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.