Centers for Disease Control — Part of Atlanta’s Rich His-tory

Adjoining the Emory campus and with historical associations to the university, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is critical to not only America’s but also international well-being. It provides health information, engages in critical research and tracks down the source of epidemics worldwide.


CDC DecaturLong modern low-rise building near Emory University is home to the CDC, internationally renowned for the control and prevention of diseases.


Local lore traces the CDC roots to the plight of a sick staff member at the legendary hunting plantation, owned by Coca-Cola magnate Robert Woodruff, in South Georgia. One of the employees had come down with malaria, and Woodruff turned to his friends at Emory University for help. He received enough quinine, a malaria antidote, to help not only the hired hands but also many of Woodruff’s neighbors.


Robert Woodruff used his considerable influence to convince President Franklin D. Roosevelt to set up a government agency to combat diseases around the world. By 1946 the Communicable Disease Center, the predecessor of today’s CDC, opened in Atlanta. It began the distinguished work that today is so well known as the mission of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Dr. Paul Hudson, historian at Georgia Perimeter College, writes stories for the Decatur Dispatch.

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