Durbin Speaks With CDC Director On Public Health Priorities

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today spoke by phone with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky about his public health priorities, including ways to reduce community violence and address children’s exposure to trauma, funding to improve maternal health, restricting tobacco companies from marketing e-cigarettes to children, and improving health outcomes for individuals with congenital heart defects. On the call, Durbin discussed the CDC’s fiscal year 2022 budget proposals that align with Durbin’s RISE From Trauma Act and his Chicago HEAL Initiative.

“The Biden Administration’s CDC has been hard at work rolling out vaccines and containing a global pandemic. As we start to near the finish line, I want to applaud Dr. Walensky’s leadership and encourage unvaccinated Americans to go get their shot to protect themselves and their neighbors,” said Durbin. “I hope that in the upcoming year, we can begin to focus on additional public health priorities that impact Americans’ daily lives like trauma and community violence and the rising popularity of e-cigarettes among kids.”

Last week, Durbin introduced the bipartisan RISE from Trauma Act to increase support for children who have been exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma, including witnessing community violence, parental addiction, or abuse. The bill would dramatically boost funding for community-based efforts to prevent and mitigate the impact of trauma, and expand training and workforce development efforts to support health care, education, social services, first responders, and community leaders to foster resilience and deliver services to treat the impact of trauma.

In 2018, Durbin’s Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act was unanimously passed in the Senate and signed into law. The legislation promotes federal research on congenital heart defects and raises awareness of the impact these health problems have throughout patients’ lives. Since the law reauthorized the CDC’s collection program in 2018, Durbin has helped increased CDC appropriations from $4 million to $7 million annually to continue the program.