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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Goal 4: Strengthen ASPR’s leadership role in coordinating and developing public health and medical emergency preparedness, response and recovery policy for the Department

The effectiveness of actions taken for public health preparedness, response, and recovery is highly dependent on the policy framework within which they operate. Supportive policies, a good resource base, and a rigorous evidence base will create the environment to support national health security. In addition to these foundations, efficiently harnessing and allocating resources must include strengthening partnerships and identifying dual use aims when possible. ASPR’s policy responsibility includes: serving as the Secretary’s principal advisor on public health and medical emergency preparedness; coordinating related policy analysis and development across HHS and with other partners; and leading national efforts to improve and develop the policy framework that will most efficiently allow for progress and improvement in the scientific base for preparedness, response, and recovery.  Importantly, in recognition of the fact that there is a health component to nearly every response, ASPR’s policy coordination role must include helping our federal partners identify and recognize the health impacts of an incident and ensuring that HHS and national partners are appropriately involved in a national response to any emergency.


  • Strengthen ASPR’s policy coordination role by 
    • Systematically employing a robust policy coordination, development, and implementation process, including the application of lessons learned, assuring that partners can optimally provide input, and that policy and operations responses within ASPR are fully integrated 
    • Improving policy coordination across HHS and the interagency during a health response to an incident to ensure sufficient visibility among those who have a policy role and to ensure that communications and efforts are responsive, collaborative, and not duplicative  
    • Promoting the development of standard processes and triggers for HHS engagement and coordination of health security policy during a U.S. government response to an incident  
    • Leading a Departmental continuity of operations program to ensure the right framework is in place for key Departmental functions to continue during and after a natural, man-made or technological disaster
  • Improve the policy foundations enabling national health security by
    • Supporting research and risk analysis efforts to improve understanding and anticipation of environmental, infectious disease, and other potential threats to health, whether natural, accidental, or intentional
    • Developing policy and fostering partnerships to balance maintaining a robust life sciences enterprise with enhancing laboratory safety and security and reducing the risk from hazardous biologic agents and toxins
    • Ensuring that the needs of at-risk individuals are integrated into all preparedness, response, and recovery plans and strategies
    • Establishing mechanisms to incorporate scientific data collection that can inform in all stages of a response to a public health incident
    • Developing and implementing a plan for more efficient and effective practices for response funding to ensure that ASPR, other HHS agencies, state, tribal, territorial, and local governments, and other stakeholders are able to receive and use funds in a timely and relevant manner during public health emergency events
  • Promote evaluation and quality improvement nationally and among our health security partners by
    • Incorporating quality improvement into grant programs
    • Establishing and making publicly available clear, informative performance measures for ASPR’s health security portfolio
  • Lead coordination with domestic and international partners to develop the policies and agreements needed to enhance national and global health security by
    • Enhancing strategic engagement with other governments and international organizations through bilateral and multilateral partnerships and initiatives
    • Supporting the development of U.S. policies, plans, and frameworks to support international public health emergency preparedness,  response, and recovery efforts
    • Participating in whole of government planning for emergency response through development of international policy frameworks

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  • This page last reviewed: February 14, 2012