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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Preparing for the Next Pandemic

Author: Robert Kadlec, MD, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Published Date: 12/10/2019 3:38:00 PM
Category: Hospital Preparedness; Observances; Medical Countermeasures; Public Health Preparedness;

End-to-end Solutions to Combat Next Influenza Pandemic

Last year, many of us paused to recognize the 100th anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic that infected approximately one third of the world’s population and killed at least 50 million people. Yet influenza outbreaks and pandemics are not just some footnote of history. In just the last decade, we have faced three serious influenza-related incidents: a severe flu season in 2017 claimed the lives of 79,000 people,  Read more…

Giving Your Community Health, Warmth and Resilience

Author: Jennifer Frenette, Region 1 Liaison, HHS/ASPR Medical Reserve Corps.
Published Date: 11/27/2019 7:26:00 AM
Category: Observances; Public Health Preparedness;

MRC Volunteers Strengthen Communities during the Holiday Season and Beyond

The holiday season is a time for giving. We spend hours (sometimes weeks, months…) searching for and picking out the perfect gifts for friends and family. Many of us donate to non-profits and charitable organizations. We even give to ourselves – often taking important time off to unwind and connect with our loved ones.

  Read more…

There’s No Such Thing as Just-in-time Healthcare and Public Health Preparedness

Author: CDR Thomas J (TJ) Christl, Branch Chief of the Infrastructure Analysis and Partnerships Branch in the HHS/ASPR Division of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Rachel Lehman Stakeholder Engagement Policy Analyst of the Infrastructure Analysis and Partnerships Branch in the HHS/ASPR Division of Critical Infrastructure Protection
Published Date: 11/25/2019 11:25:00 AM
Category: Cyber Security; National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

How to Create and Strengthen Partnerships to Enhance Critical Infrastructure Protection

What does it take to provide patient care? The image of a hospital or doctor’s office just popped into your mind, right? Well, that’s just part of the answer.

Every day, patients rely on complex just-in-time systems for the provision of healthcare. These systems include not only hospitals and other healthcare providers, but also insurance providers, laboratories, medical device suppliers, and more.

Working together, these systems can provide just-in-time supplies  Read more…

Take a Shot at Decreasing Hospital Acquired Infections and Enhancing National Health Security

Author: Domestic Policy Branch, HHS/ASPR Office of Strategy, Policy, Planning and Requirements
Published Date: 11/6/2019 10:18:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Hospital Preparedness; Public Health Preparedness;

A Case for Encouraging Seasonal Influenza Vaccination among Healthcare Workers

Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed approximately 675,000 people in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Although that number is daunting, it doesn't take a pandemic for influenza to seriously threaten patient health.  The disease burden for seasonal flu is still stunning 100  Read more…

Opportunities and Cybersecurity Risks for the Healthcare and Public Health Sector

Author: Bob Bastani, CISSP, CISM, CRISC, Senior Cyber Security Advisor Healthcare and Public Health Sector, Critical Infrastructure Protection, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 11/1/2019 9:40:00 AM
Category: Cyber Security;

Next-Generation Medical Technologies and Emerging Health Security Threats

Cutting-edge innovations in medical technology help medical professionals improve patient health outcomes during disasters and every day. While these new, evolving technologies bring great promise for patient care, they also introduce an element of risk into your hospitals and healthcare systems.

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) are all transformi  Read more…

The power of partnership: BARDA ushers in 50th FDA-approved product for health security

Author: Rick Bright, Ph.D., BARDA Director and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 10/11/2019 2:49:00 PM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; Observances; National Health Security;

At BARDA, we are proud to have established unique partnerships with industry that create solutions for the American people. By working together, we have earned – as of last week – our 50th and 51st U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals, licensures and clearances in the past 12 years for products that address some of our nation’s most challenging health security threats. BARDA and our private sector partners achieved eight of these in the past year alone, substantially increasing the nation’s health security preparedness.


Read more…

Helping Your Community Become Prepared, Not Scared

Author: Esmeralda Pereira, Medical Reserve Corps Program Director
Published Date: 9/26/2019 11:16:00 AM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; Exercises & Trainings;

Eight Trainings Your MRC Unit Can Offer to Enhance Community Preparedness

Is your Medical Reserve Corps unit looking for a way to bolster community preparedness? You can start by providing community members with training that gives them skills they need to respond – and the confidence to use those newfound techniques.  When an emergency or natural disaster happens, many people want to help – but they just don’t know what to do.  

The good news is that many people can learn lifesaving skills in a cou  Read more…

A close encounter of the worst kind: Sepsis

Author: Timothy G. Buchman, PhD, MD, FACS, FCCP, MCCM, Subject Matter Expert and IPA to BARDA DRIVe
Published Date: 9/18/2019 11:03:00 AM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; Innovations;

Day four of the annual professional meeting began like so many others: I had one more talk to give, and then a dash to the airport for the flight home. At lunchtime, I noticed a slight headache. By the time the session began mid-afternoon, the headache was worse. I bummed a couple of over-the-counter pain pills from a colleague (thank heavens for better prepared friends!), chugged a bot  Read more…

Continuous Demands, Multiple Disasters, Mounting Stress

Author: Rachel Kaul, LCSW, CTS, Senior Advisor for Behavioral Health, HHS/ASPR Emergency Management and Medical Operations
Published Date: 9/13/2019 3:33:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Exercises & Trainings; Response & Recovery;

How Emergency Responders can Protect against Burnout, Compassion Fatigue, and PTSD

As any emergency responder knows, EMS providers, healthcare professionals and other emergency responders work in fast-paced, demanding, challenging environments. Although this work can be incredibly rewarding, the accumulation of daily stressors coupled with the intense pressures associated with a disaster – such as taking on unfamiliar duties, witnessing horrific events, comforting traumatized people, working back-to-back shifts, eating poorly, and sleeping rarely – can have serious repercus  Read more…

HHS’ efforts better prepared Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands for Dorian

Author: Mike Cote, Federal Health Coordinating Official and Regional Administrator
Published Date: 8/30/2019 8:01:00 AM
Category: Response & Recovery; Public Health Preparedness; Hospital Preparedness;

Hurricane Dorian didn’t deliver the damage, destruction, and mass patient caseload to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands that many people anticipated the storm would — and that’s a good thing. Nevertheless, Puerto Rico was ready for a hurricane in a way it has never been before thanks to the efforts by HHS’ Division of Recovery team.

Over the past two years, federal and territory government agencies and non-government organizations have worked together to prepare Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands healthcare systems for hurricanes and other natural disasters. These  Read more…

The Evolution of the Strategic National Stockpile

Author: Greg Burel, Director, Strategic National Stockpile, and Denise Williams, Technical Writer-Editor, Strategic National Stockpile
Published Date: 8/21/2019 10:02:00 AM
Category: Response & Recovery; Medical Countermeasures; Public Health Preparedness;

Twenty Years of Stockpiling Critical Medical Products and Training Professionals to Respond to 21st Century Health Threats

Twenty years ago, Congress established the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), originally named the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile, with a $51 million appropriation and a handful of staff quietly housed in CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health. Today, the SNS is part of the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and holds a $7 billion inventory as well as vast experience in preparing for and responding to a variety   Read more…

Expanding Your Partnerships to Enhance Medical Surge: Seven Ways to Engage Outpatient Care Settings

Published Date: 8/13/2019 11:09:00 AM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; Response & Recovery; Hospital Preparedness;

Outpatient care settings  - including federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), rural health clinics (RHCs), urgent care centers, home health and hospice agencies, and primary care provider practices - have a wide range of capabilities that could be used to save lives in an emergency, but are they integrated into our nation’s emergency healthcare response system? How can healthcare coalitions better engage outpatient healthcare providers to enhance disaster response?

These are just some of the questions the experts from ASPR’s Technical Resources, Assistance Cen  Read more…

Crossing the Finish Line: Project BioShield is Transforming the Nation’s Health Security with Cutting-Edge Innovation, Sound Investments, and Strong Partnerships

Author: Rick A. Bright, Ph.D., BARDA Director
Published Date: 8/7/2019 10:53:00 AM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; Innovations; National Health Security;

Project BioShield is revolutionizing the way we protect Americans from 21st century health security threats. Think back almost 18 years ago to the anthrax attacks of 2001. That crisis highlighted just how few medical countermeasures our nation had to respond to a bioterrorism incident. The anthrax attacks taught us important lessons that still guide our thinking:  innovation is critical, partnerships matter, and the threats that we face are very real and very serious.

21st Century Health Security Threats: From Anthrax to the Unknown

Alth  Read more…

Novel Partnerships, Payment Shifts, and Emerging U.S. Leadership for Antimicrobial Drugs

Author: Rick A. Bright, Ph.D., BARDA Director
Published Date: 8/5/2019 9:01:00 AM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; Public Health Preparedness;

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an increasingly serious threat to America’s public health and national security. The resources necessary to discover, develop and commercialize innovative, life-saving antimicrobials are similar to other disease areas; however, the relative return on investment is exceedingly low.

In May, I highlighted the need for an immediate paradigm shift in the antimicrobials marketplace. I specifically called out the importance of building new business models, developing novel partnerships,  Read more…

Building a Better Pipeline of Candidate Products for Project BioShield

Author: By Rick A. Bright, Ph.D., BARDA Director
Published Date: 7/31/2019 9:38:00 AM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; Public Health Preparedness;

Project BioShield has revolutionized the way we protect Americans from 21st century health security threats. Our ultimate goal is to save lives during a national disaster; we prepare for this eventuality by pursuing FDA approval and availability of countermeasures in preparation for such emergencies. The government alone cannot fill the need for medical products to save lives in public health emergencies and disasters; public-private partnerships are essential every step of the way.

BARDA’s approach to public-private partnerships is remarkable. We reduce business risk  Read more…

Fifteen Years, Fifteen Stockpiled Medical Countermeasures: Leveraging Project BioShield to Build an Unprecedented Array of Drugs, Vaccines, Therapeutics, and More to Enhance Health Security

Author: Gary Disbrow, Ph.D., BARDA Deputy Director
Published Date: 7/24/2019 8:36:00 AM
Category: Medical Countermeasures;

When Project BioShield was signed into law 15 years ago, the nation had few medical countermeasures to rely on in national emergencies. In the interceding years, BARDA has worked with its partners throughout government and industry to find creative solutions to address health security threats. Together, we have developed safe and effective medical countermeasures to protect the public in emergencies.

BARDA has supported 27 projects using Project BioShield authorities and funding. We’ve added 15 products to the Strategic National Stockpile. We’ve worked with industry pa  Read more…

Health Care Coalition Response Leadership Course

Author: Richard C. Hunt, MD, FACEP, Senior Medical Advisor, National Healthcare Preparedness Programs HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 7/18/2019 9:06:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Exercises & Trainings;

From Penguins to Practical Solutions that Enhance Disaster Response

Teams that perform well have a shared mental model of success. Think about penguins. In the waters of Antarctica, penguins form groups to perform a complex task: get food in a chaotic environment with competing demands. But, all of these penguins are operating with a shared idea of success: fish for dinner (or breakfast, or lunch…). Healthcare coalitions often don’t have that level of clarity and that can be a real problem. When their teams come together, they often don’t agree on  Read more…

Project BioShield Evolution: Fifteen Years of Bridging the ‘Valley of Death’ in the Medical Countermeasures Pipeline

Author: By Dr. Robert Kadlec, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 7/17/2019 12:15:00 PM
Category: Innovations; Medical Countermeasures; National Health Security;

Saving lives in a public health emergency requires cutting-edge medical countermeasures: medications, vaccines, diagnostics, and more. In some types of emergencies, like an act of bioterrorism, some of those medical products have no commercial market. People don’t use an anthrax antitoxin every day – thank goodness. Yet that lack of commercial market also means pharmaceutical or biotech companies had only one possible buyer for their products: the federal government for stockpiling.

In 2004, Congress passed the Project BioShield Act to create a market for products   Read more…

Teaching Life-saving Skills in Minutes

Author: Esmeralda Pereira, Director of the Medical Reserve Corps Program
Published Date: 7/3/2019 5:02:00 PM
Category: Exercises & Trainings; Public Health Preparedness;

Medical Reserve Corps Volunteers Empower Communities using Stop the Bleed Training

Last month, teams of volunteers from Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) units across the country taught life-saving skills to the people in their communities as part of Stop the Bleed month. The MRC is a national network of local groups of volunteers engaging local communities to strengthen public health, reduce vulnerability, build resilience, and improve preparedness, response and recovery capabilities. These volunteers dedicated more than 780 hours to training peop  Read more…

Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act 2019: What Does It Mean for Me and My Organization?

Author: By Dr. Robert Kadlec, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 6/25/2019 10:54:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery; National Health Security;

At ASPR, we’re excited about the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019 (PAHPAIA), which the president signed last night. The new law strengthens public health and healthcare readiness, bolsters response and recovery programs, and increases transparency. What do the changes mean for our non-federal partners? We see some key provisions that can significantly improve preparedness and response for our partners.

Improving preparedness

PAHPAIA authorized a funding increase for the Hospital Pr  Read more…

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