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Creating a Culture of Innovation

We aspire to create a culture where people work joyfully, communicate openly about things that matter, and provide great services globally. We would like our team and communities (both government and private sector) to reflect on diversity of all kinds, not just the classes protected in law. Diversity fosters innovation. Diverse teams are creative teams. We need a diversity of perspective to create solutions for the challenges we face.

This is our code of conduct (adapted from 18F's Code of Conduct). We follow all Equal Employment Opportunity laws and we expect everyone we work with to adhere to the GSA Anti-harrasment Policy, even if they do not work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or GSA. We expect every user to follow this code of conduct and the laws and policies mentioned above.

Be Empowering

Consider what you can do to encourage and support others. Make room for quieter voices to contribute. Offer support and enthusiasm for great ideas. Leverage the low cost of experimentation to support your colleagues' ideas, and take care to acknowledge the original source. Look for ways to contribute and collaborate, even in situations where you normally wouldn't. Share your knowledge and skills. Prioritize access for and input from those who are traditionally excluded from the civic process.

Rules of Behavior

  • I understand that I must complete security awareness and records management training annually in order to comply with the latest security and records management policies.
  • I understand that I must also follow the Rules of Behavior for use of HHS Information Resources
  • I understand that I must not use, share, or store any kind of sensitive data (health status, provision or payment of healthcare, PII, etc.) under ANY circumstance.
  • I will not knowingly conceal, falsify, or remove information.
  • I understand that I can only use non-sensitive and/or publicly available data.
  • I understand that all passwords I create to set up accounts need to comply with CDC's password policy.
  • I understand that the stewards reserves the right to moderate all data at any time.


Create boundaries to your own behavior and consider how you can create a safe space that helps prevent unacceptable behavior by others. We can't list all instances of unacceptable behavior, but we can provide examples to help guide our community in thinking through how to respond when we experience these types of behavior, whether directed at ourselves or others.

If you are unsure if something is appropriate behavior, it probably is not. Each person we interact with can define where the line is for them. Impact matters more than intent. Ensuring that your behavior does not have a negative impact is your responsibility. Problems usually arise when we assume that our way of thinking or behavior is the norm for everyone.

Here are some examples of unacceptable behavior

  • Negative or offensive remarks based on the protected classes as listed in the GSA Anti-harrasment Policy of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetric information, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, maritual status, and political affiliation as well as gender expression, mental illness, socioeconomic status or backgrounds, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, body size, or clothing. Consider that calling attention to differences can feel alienating.
  • Sustained disruption of meetings, talks, or discussions, including chatrooms.
  • Patronizing language or behavior.
  • Aggresive behavior, such as unconstructive criticism, providing correction that do not improve the conversation (sometimes referred to as "well actually's"), repeatedly interrupting or talking over someone else, feigning surprise at someone's lack of knowledge or awareness about a topic, or subtle prejudice.
  • Referring to people in a way that misidentifies their gender and/or rejects the validity of their gender identity; for instance by using incorrect pronouns or forms of address (misgendering).
  • Retaliating against anyone who files a formal complaint that someone has violated these codes or laws.


CDC Scientific Clearance is the process of obtaining approvals by appropriate CDC officials before a CDC information product is released to the public or CDC's external public health partners. Information products that require formal clearance include print, electronic, or oral materials, that CDC employees author or co-author, whether published by CDC or outside CDC. CDC contractors developing content on behalf of CDC for the public or CDC's external public health partners are also required to put their content through the formal clearance process. The collaborative functions related to the projects include blogs, wikis, forums, bug tracking sites, source control and others deemed as necessary.

For those individuals within the CDC, adherence to the following policies are required:

All collaborative materials will be controlled by the rules contained within this document. This will allow for the real-time collaboration opportunities among CDC employees, CDC contractors and CDC public health partners.


This code of conduct was mainly adapted from 18F's Code of Conduct and the CDC's Informatics Innovation Unit R&D Lab's code of conduct.

Relevant Legal Considerations