CDC’s Tom Frieden, speaks about the budget during a visit to APHA headquarters to members of the CDC Coalition.

Following last week’s release of President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden Monday shed light on the impact of proposed funding levels for CDC and more broadly, public health. The overall decreased budget, which includes cuts along with increases for various CDC activities, offers a bitter sweet outlook on the agency’s public health efforts.

CDC, which maintains programs that investigate infectious diseases and health threats, monitor the public’s health, promote prevention and more, would see a collective $270 million funding decrease under the president’s proposal.  It is also represents the lowest level of funding for CDC since fiscal year 2003.

“We work with state and local entities toward protecting health. [Budgetary] reductions mean real reductions in our abilities,” Frieden explained during a visit to APHA headquarters to members of the CDC Coalition, a group of public health advocates led by the Association.

The budget comes with some good news as it would protect and improve funding for CDC efforts such as food safety, nationwide expansion of the National Violent Death Reporting System, tobacco control and health statistics. The budget’s increases would also aid in Advanced Molecular Detection, cutting-edge analytical capabilities that could improve response to infectious disease outbreaks like protecting Americans from drug resistant microbes or helping control outbreaks like cholera. Endeavors like these, however, require continued funds.

“To not just explain where the organism is, but where it is going, we need more investments,” said Frieden, when discussing the potential of Advanced Molecular Detection.

A host of CDC activities would see large funding cuts under the president’s budget. Community Transformation Grants, the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant and immunization efforts are just a few CDC activities that would undergo cuts amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

“We have challenges,” Frieden said. “When public health suffers, it’s not about an agency in Atlanta. It’s about people who need prevention on the front lines not getting care.”