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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Regional and International Coordination Programs

ASPR/OEM PREP Division

The Regional and International Coordination Programs (RICP)  of the ASPR/OEM PREP Division helps connect ASPR with its partners across the country and around the globe through two critical programs:  the Regional Emergency Coordinators (RECs) and the Liaison Program.

Regional Emergency Coordinators

RECs are the face of ASPR to its state and local partners, helping them prepare for and remain resilient in the face of disasters and emergencies.   The RECs are located in all 10 federal regions across the United States and they work on preparedness activities with a wide range of partners. 

Together with these partners they conduct threat and risk assessments; identify capabilities and gaps; and build community resiliency and capacity. They also participate in state, regional, and cross-border planning, training, exercises, and program evaluation for public health emergencies, disasters, and mass gathering events.

The RECs co-chair the HHS Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) and provide federal public health and medical support for regional preparedness efforts.  The RECs serve as technical advisers for national and regional policy development.

Although RECs are building partnerships across the country every day, these examples stand out as ways that they helped improve resilience at the regional level:

  • Gulf Region: RECs worked with state health officials to develop plans to evacuate hundreds of patients quickly in a disaster to hospitals across the United States.
  • Mid-Atlantic Region: RECs helped state health staff improve their emergency plans. The states now have estimates of how many patients emergency departments in their states can handle in a disaster and how many medical shelters states may need as part of the health response.
  • 10 Most Vulnerable States to Earthquakes:  RECs helped health officials in nine midwestern states and California plan to handle the thousands of injuries and deaths that are expected in catastrophic earthquakes along the New Madrid fault line in the Midwest and the San Andreas and Hayward fault lines in California.

In addition to these steady-state activities, RECs are divided into three teams to provide 24/7 on-call response to regional and national incidents.  During a response, they serve as the Lead Health Official in the affected region work closely with their state health and emergency management counterparts to develop requirements for federal support.  When needed, ASPR can deploy thousands of medical providers, Federal Medical Stations, and caches of supplies, all commanded by the RECs on incident response coordination teams.  

The RECs play an important role in recovery.  They ensure that the HHS Recovery Coordinator has situational awareness and is integrated into response operations.  RECs assist with transition from response and short term recovery to long term recovery operations.  They identify potential ongoing recovery missions such as vector control and behavioral health support, all the while providing feedback to identify best practices and lessons learned.

Over the last 8 years, RECs have been called on to respond to 177 incidents and national security special events.  Because of their detailed understanding of health issues at the regional, state and local levels, REC enable a faster and more effective federal response.

To find out more about the ways that RECs build resilience at the regional level, visit the Regional Emergency Coordinators site.

The Liaison Program

ASPR’s Liaison (LNO) Program connects ASPR with strategic domestic and international partners and emergency management initiatives to address issues related to the public health, medical and social services needed to adequately prepare for, respond to and recover from global emergencies and naturally-occurring and manmade disasters. 

The LNO Program communicates ASPR’s international capabilities to partners within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including the HHS-Office of Global Affairs, and across the federal government.  Liaisons (LNOs) help establish collaborative relationships that facilitate information sharing and improve situational awareness among key domestic and international partners related to emergency and disaster response and recovery missions. 

The LNO Program coordinates OEM support to the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office Foreign Disaster Assistance.  From a national, regional and global perspective, the LNO Program provides a broad spectrum of public health and medical engagement through a cadre of domestically and internationally-focused LNOs, including LNOs embedded in Department of Defense Combatant Commands.

Watch, Listen and Learn

YouTube:  Regional Emergency Coordinators 

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  • This page last reviewed: April 12, 2017