CNN  — 

Big changes are coming to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary as the nation’s lead public health agency.

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky met with senior leadership at the agency this morning to lay out her plans for overhauling how the agency works. She plans to remake the culture to help the agency move faster when it responds to a public health crisis. She also wants to make it easier for other parts of the government to work with the CDC, and wants to simplify and streamline the website to get rid of overlapping and contradictory public health guidance.

“My goal is a new, public health action-oriented culture at CDC that emphasizes accountability, collaboration, communication, and timeliness.  I look forward to working with the incredible people at CDC and our partners to realize the agency’s fullest potential to benefit the health and well-being of all Americans,” Walensky said in a statement on Wednesday.

Staff was notified of the plans by email. More than 12,000 people work at the agency, which is headquartered in Atlanta.

The changes will be aimed at improving the culture and restoring public trust after the agency’s acknowledged missteps in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The reforms follow a period of review and introspection at the CDC. In April, Walensky announced Jim Macrae, an administrator at the US Department of Health and Human Services, would lead a one-month review of the agency’s Covid-19 response efforts. At the same time, she charged three of her deputies to scrutinize operations and recommend strategic changes. Walensky has been meeting with groups of staff in person as employees return to their office after months of remote work.

The new marching orders come after significant stumbles at the agency in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The US had little capacity to test for infection during the early months of the pandemic, largely because the agency released a flawed test to public health laboratories. That kept the nation blind, for months, to the extent of the virus’s spread.

The agency has also been criticized throughout the pandemic for issuing public health guidance that some saw as confusing and ineffective. Many also felt it wasn’t moving fast enough to respond.

“For 75 years, CDC and public health have been preparing for Covid-19, and in our big moment, our performance did not reliably meet expectations,” Walensky acknowledged in her statement. 

Walensky will bring in former HHS Deputy Secretary Mary Wakefield to the CDC to oversee the reorganization.

Among the key moves announced today, the Division of Laboratory Science and the Office of Sciences will now report directly to the CDC director, a shift aimed at making them more accountable and speeding the results of their work to the public.