On Tuesday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden spoke at APHA on President Barack Obama’s budget request for the agency in fiscal year 2016. Photo by Natalie McGill/The Nation’s Health/APHA

The mood was optimistic Tuesday as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden renewed “a real tradition” at APHA, discussing U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposed 2016 fiscal year budget for the agency and its public health implications.

“This year we’ve got some really exciting things in the budget,” Frieden said in a conversation with the CDC Coalition, a group of public health advocates led by APHA.

While not all funding priorities are met in the proposal, Frieden added: “There are more things to like than not to like.”

Overall, CDC’s budget would increase by $141 million over FY 2015. Among its highlighted funding boosts the request includes a $264 million increase for CDC activities to prevent and combat antibiotic resistance as part of a larger $1.2 billion multi-agency effort to address the issue.

It’s a necessary increase, according to Frieden. Antibiotic resistance causes more than 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths per year in the U.S. But CDC estimates that the new funding can prevent more than half a million infections, more than 37,000 deaths and nearly $8 billion in health care costs.

“These aren’t just wild guesses,” Frieden said. “We’ve seen communities, we’ve seen countries have this kind of reduction and there’s no reason we can’t do it here.”

The president’s request also bolsters funding for three more CDC priority initiatives for FY 2016: prescription drug overdose, global health security and laboratory safety and quality.

Some public health activities would suffer, however, including cuts to immunization funding and elimination of Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health, or REACH, and the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant, two programs strongly supported by APHA.

“I think we have a pretty good story to tell this year,” said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD. “There are some challenges and certainly some things on the budget that we would not have done … But there are certainly things that are encouraging.”