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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Goal 4: Lead, Coordinate, and Develop Proactive and Forward Thinking Policies that Support National and International Public Health and Medical Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Capabilities

The effectiveness of actions taken for public health preparedness, response, and recovery is highly dependent on the policy and planning framework within which they operate. The policy and planning processes that extend from this framework should be collaborative and provide the strategic and policy foundation upon which non-federal governments and partners build their own strategies and policies. The policy and planning framework supports the end users’ and operator’s needs and are responsible for the creation, management, and iterative evaluation of integrated policies throughout ASPR, and in conjunction with HHS, the government as a whole, and the broader community. The framework therefore should provide for processes that are flexible, accountable, and nimble. Resultant ASPR policies should be evidence based, intellectually rigorous, anticipatory, ethical, and enhance the nation’s resilience to disasters.
ASPR’s policy and planning responsibilities include coordinating and leading development of national strategies and policies by participating in departmental strategic planning and evaluation efforts, and by promoting preparedness, response, and recovery policy development and analysis across ASPR and HHS, federally, nationally, and internationally. ASPR champions efforts to continuously improve policy and planning frameworks to most effectively and efficiently allow for progress and improvement rooted in the evidence base for preparedness, response, and recovery.
Additionally, the health security of each and every nation is dependent on that of other members of the international community. Therefore, an all-hazards approach to improve our collective capabilities to deal with public health emergencies including those that arise from chemical, biological, radiological,  nuclear, and explosive threats, outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases, and natural disasters must include domestic and international policies that incorporate international partners and account for threats beyond our border.


  • Create, coordinate, and develop policies and strategies. Proposed activities:
    • Evaluate the implementation and progress of relevant national strategies and plans, and provide course correction where necessary [OPP];
    • Lead the engagement with the National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB), and the National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters (NACCD) for consultation and advice on key strategic issues [OPP];
    • Serve as the departmental liaison for Evaluation Of Progress (EOP)-driven policy processes, overall management of Interagency Policy Committee (IPC) and sub-IPC activities, tracking, and representation [OPP];
    • Provide department-wide leadership for preparedness and response policy and planning coordination (inter-HHS coordination in conjunction with policy processes) [OPP].
    • Identify any gaps or duplicated efforts amongst the different strategic implementation plans applicable to ASPR. This will assist in planning, tracking, and other strategic purposes [IO, OPP];
    • Revise plans based on gaps, duplicated efforts, or other needs identified in the crosswalk of strategic implementation plans developed by ASPR & IO [OPP].
Outcome: Policies and strategies within ASPR are aligned with departmental, federal government, White House, state and local government, and private sector policies and strategies, and are linked to and promote the National Health Security Strategy.
  • Develop effective preparedness policies and synchronize across operational components. Proposed activities:
    • Support and develop research and risk analysis efforts on emerging threats to improve the anticipation and preparedness for environmental, infectious disease, and other potential threats to health—whether natural, accidental, or intentional [OPP & OEM & BARDA];
    • Engage in—and shape—national policy related to dual-use research [OPP];
    • Execute the scientific preparedness and response initiative to determine the highest priority clinical research questions, identify gaps in related research, and build or enhance systems to enable research in advance of or during a disaster [OPP];
    • Develop policies and foster partnerships that ensure a robust life sciences field while enhancing laboratory safety and security to reduce the risk from hazardous biologic agents and toxins [OPP];
    • Integrate the needs of at-risk individuals into all preparedness, response, and recovery plans and strategies [OPP, OEM];
    • Continue to find solutions for administrative preparedness to ensure that federal, state, and local governments are prepared to allocate funding, hire or reassign staff, execute contracts, and perform other administrative functions efficiently during an incident [OPP, OFPA & AMCG & COO].
Outcome: Preparedness policies are risk and evidence based, coordinated, and directly support and facilitate operational components of ASPR which provide input to the entire policy process.
  • Maintain and continue to develop effective response and recovery policies and synchronize across operational components. Proposed activities:
    • Provide policy and planning liaison and expertise to departmental training and exercise activities [OEM, OPP];
    • Lead and maintain an effective Disaster Leadership Group (DLG) to inform HHS-wide leadership and coordinate decision making during domestic and international disasters and public health emergencies [OPP];
    • Establish a standard process for incorporating lessons learned from exercise and emergency events into ASPR policy and planning that includes the perspectives of HHS, other federal partners, and international, non-governmental, and private sector (e.g. manufacturing) partners when relevant [OPP, OEM].
Outcome: Enhanced operational activities based on robust response and recovery policies that improve both domestic and global health security.
  • Lead coordination with domestic and international partners to develop and implement public health and medical emergency preparedness and response programs, initiatives, and policies to enhance global health security. Proposed activities:
    • Lead regional, bilateral, and multilateral partnerships to develop policy frameworks on global health security, with a focus on coordinating public health emergency preparedness and response to include preventing avoidable epidemics or spread of disease [OPP];
    • Assist partners in building public health emergency preparedness and response capacity internationally under the framework of the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005), including strengthening the global network of IHR (2005) National Focal Points [OPP];
    • Coordinate with domestic and international partners to develop frameworks for the provision of public health and medical assistance during emergencies, including the sharing of specimens, reagents, MCMs, and personnel [OPP, OEM & BARDA];
    • Work with domestic and international partners across the health and security sectors to counter biological threats and to develop capabilities to detect, prevent, and respond to other health emergencies of international concern, whether naturally occurring, intentionally produced, or accidentally released [OPP].
Outcome: A nation prepared to respond to public health emergencies in an interdependent global health security environment.
  • Develop a measurement and evaluation component into the policy and planning process to evaluate the impact of policy, and examine innovative ways to drive change and measure successes. Proposed activity:
    • In close collaboration with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning & Evaluation (ASPE) and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources (ASFR), provide seamless policy support to align with the HHS performance improvement process [OPP, OFPA].
Outcome: Improved support to the quality improvement process to assure that measurement and evaluation are incorporated into all policy processes.
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  • This page last reviewed: February 19, 2014