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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

A Critical Crash Course in Chemical Decontamination

Author: Efrain E. Garcia, Ph.D.,Health Scientist, Division of CBRN Countermeasures, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response
Published Date: 5/24/2019 9:29:00 AM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; Exercises & Trainings;

​What EMS Professionals Need to Know about Mass Chemical Decontamination

In communities across the country, people rely on Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professionals to make quick, life-saving decisions.  Becoming an EMS professional takes years of training that you can directly apply during most disasters and emergencies, such as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes.

However, do you know how to effectively decontaminate yourself or patients following a chemical event? 

Straightforward Guidance to Help Save Lives

Decontaminating people   Read more…

Reinforcing the Front Lines of Disaster Response: ASPR Provides Critical Resources, Stronger Systems, and Lifesaving Training for EMS Professionals

Author: Sean Andrews, MPH, NRP, Policy Analyst, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 5/22/2019 3:04:00 PM
Category: Exercises & Trainings; Response & Recovery;

Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel respond to emergencies every day and serve on the front lines of the medical response to disasters, terrorist attacks, and mass casualty incidents. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is dedicated to supporting EMS personnel in enhancing and protecting the health and well-being of all Americans.

As the HHS lead for coordinating the public health and medical response to disasters and other emergencies, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) is dedicated to supporting EMS personnel and agencies   Read more…

Capacity-Building Toolkit for Including Aging and Disability Networks in Emergency Planning

Author: Cheryl Levine, PhD, Senior Advisor for At-Risk Individuals, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)
Published Date: 5/13/2019 11:03:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Hospital Preparedness;

Today, older adults and people with disabilities are better able to remain in their homes and live independently, thanks in part to the work of Community Based Organizations (CBOs).  But when disasters strike, older adults and people with disabilities are among the hardest hit and they may not be able to effectively respond to, cope with, and recover from a disaster. If you are a part of the aging and disability networks, planning for disasters and emergencies and establishing the partnerships needed to better serve the people who rely on you can be daunting.  How  Read more…

Project BioShield: Enhancing Preparedness, Ensuring Treatment Options

Author: Brian Tse, Oxana Selivanova, Claiborne Hughes, and Mark Albrecht
Published Date: 5/13/2019 9:42:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Medical Countermeasures; National Health Security;


Stockpiling Novel Antibiotics Safeguards Nation, Sustains Commitment to Industry

Bacteria evolve and change, becoming more dangerous and deadly, and often developing resistance to existing medical countermeasures. Consider some of the resistance problems we face today. In recent years, we’ve seen increasing incidences of multi-drug resistant salmonella, gonorrhea, and typhoid, just to name a few examples. Now, think about what would happen if evolution or terrorists created antibiotic-resistant strains of biothreat agents, such as anthrax, plague, tularemia, mel  Read more…

Help guide the future of disaster health readiness, response, and recovery

Author: Christopher L. Perdue, MD, MPH, Commander (CDR), US Public Health Service, Senior Policy Coordinator, HHS/ASPR Office of Strategy, Policy, Planning, and Requirements
Published Date: 5/7/2019 4:05:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

HHS seeks outside experts for national advisory committee

Disaster readiness, response, and recovery are complex and the threats involved continue to evolve. The nation faces a myriad of potentially challenging health effects following a disaster. The HHS Secretary depends on the advice, expertise, and counsel of outside experts from the National Biodefense Science Board for recommendations to help make complex decisions and guide the future of disaster health preparedness, response, and recovery. Participating on the board provides a unique way to get involved in pu  Read more…

The Intersection of Hurricane Response and Opioid Use Disorder

Author: Rachel Kaul, LCSW, CTS, Senior Advisor for Behavioral Health, HHS/ASPR Emergency Management and Medical Operations
Published Date: 5/6/2019 8:38:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Observances;

What Disaster Responders, Healthcare Professionals, and Disaster Relief Service Providers Need to Know

Hurricane season is just around the corner.  If you are thinking about ways to prepare for the next hurricane, take a moment to consider this:  approximately 2.1 million people have an opioid use disorder according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and over 47,000 of them died by overdose in 2017 according to a  Read more…

Promoting Calm and Coping in Your Community following Acts of Mass Violence

Author: CDR Aimee Williams, DHSc, LCSW-C, USPHS and Rachel Kaul, LCSW, CTS
Published Date: 4/30/2019 11:13:00 AM
Category:

Over half of all recorded mass shootings have happened in the last decade.  From major cities like Las Vegas, NV and Tampa, FL to smaller places like Newtown, CT and Aurora, CO, communities have been struck by violence that inspires fear, stresses local healthcare systems, and leaves lasting scars.  Unfortunately, today mass shooting can happen anywhere, from schools and college campuses to movie theaters, concerts and night clubs.

But just as eme  Read more…

New Training to Enhance Disaster Health Outcomes for Your Whole Community

Author: Cheryl Levine, PhD, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)
Published Date: 4/12/2019 3:27:00 PM
Category: Exercises & Trainings; Public Health Preparedness;

Free online training focuses on helping people with access and functional needs


In planning for the whole community’s needs during a disaster, consider that on any given day, approximately half of the U.S. population has a temporary or permanent condition that limits their ability to take action in an emergency. Simply put – they have access and functional needs (AFN).

Addressing access and functional needs is a crucial part of comprehensive disaster planning for the whole community and is mandated for inclusion in federal, state,  Read more…

Preparing for a Potential Domestic Ebola Outbreak

Author: Robert Kadlec, MD, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Published Date: 3/15/2019 2:11:00 PM
Category: Hospital Preparedness; Exercises & Trainings; Public Health Preparedness;

Enhancing U.S. Healthcare System Preparedness and Public Health Emergency Response Capabilities

Blog Series:  Battling the Ebola Epidemic

An Ebola outbreak that began more than seven months ago continues to claim lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Although international response efforts are underway to contain the outbreak at its source and prevent the spread of the disease to other countries, we must always be prepared for the possibility of an Ebola case in the United States.

<  Read more…

Combating and Containing the Ebola Outbreak

Author: Robert Kadlec, MD, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Published Date: 3/14/2019 4:13:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Medical Countermeasures; Response & Recovery; Innovations;

ASPR’s Strategic Approach to Ebola Medical Countermeasure Development and Utilization in the 2018 Ebola Outbreak

Blog Series:  Battling the Ebola Epidemic

Ebola reemerged as a health threat in 2018, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where two outbreaks of Ebola virus disease have occurred since May 2018. The first of these two outbreaks, in western DRC, was quickly contained. However, the second outbreak, in eastern DRC, has yet to be contained due in large part to the volatile security situa  Read more…

Exhaustion in the ED and Beyond: Managing Supply Shortages and Staff Fatigue in Healthcare Facilities

Author: Laura Kwinn Wolf, Ph.D., Director, ASPR Division of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Michael Eltringham, Stakeholder Engagement Analyst, ASPR Critical Infrastructure Protection Program Contract Support
Published Date: 2/19/2019 10:54:00 AM
Category: Hospital Preparedness;

Blog Series: Anticipating and Managing the Challenges Associated with Supply Shortages

The next time you face a supply shortage – from saline to syringes – brace yourself. Another shortage may be on the way:  staffing. As we discussed in the first blog in this series, hospitals and healthcare facilities face supply shortages every day, and these shortages require staff to dedicate more time and resources so they can continue providing patient care  Read more…

National Disaster Medical System: Bringing More Than Teams of Professional Medical Providers

Author: Ron Miller, Ph.D., Director, National Disaster Medical System, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 2/13/2019 10:35:00 AM
Category: Response & Recovery; Public Health Preparedness; Exercises & Trainings;

The National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) has a heroic, yet complex, mission to save lives and protect Americans. When disaster strikes, it’s potentially the worst day in the lives of hundreds – if not thousands – of people. Therefore, our mobilization, implementation, and execution need to be streamlined and seamless.

However, we never rest on our laurels. We are constantly training and identifying gaps within the preparedness and response framework to better mobilize when the inevitable ultimately occurs. NDMS has identified three pillars to expand the service’s c  Read more…

Protecting the Nation from Emerging and Pandemic Infectious Diseases and CBRN Threats

Author: Darrin Donato, Senior Policy Analyst for the Office of Strategy, Policy, Planning, and Requirements within HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and Michael Fucci, Jr. Management Analyst with Aveshka Inc. in support of the Office of Strategy, Policy, Planning, and Requirements, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 2/13/2019 9:26:00 AM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; National Health Security;

National Health Security Strategy:  Blog 3

As we scan the threat landscape as a new year begins, we find that we face a range of evolving threats to national health security. Among these risk are emerging infectious diseases that could lead to pandemic and the potential for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) emergencies.

An increasing number of immunocompromised and/or unvaccinated people (especially children), global mobility, population density acceleration, urbanization, and a growi  Read more…

Complex, Challenging, and Rewarding: Developing Strategies to Support Health and Human Services Recovery in Puerto Rico

Author: By Melanie Deal, Health Communications Specialist, HHS Health Resources and Services Administration
Published Date: 2/7/2019 8:22:00 AM
Category: Response & Recovery;

Almost a year and a half after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, people across the island are still haunted by the memories of the devastating storm, and communities are still recovering. During a recent deployment to Puerto Rico to support disaster health recovery, I learned that recovery is truly a marathon that can take years. I am dedicated to helping people cope, heal and recover, and I have been honored to work with a great team for the Health and Social Services Recovery Support Function, managed by ASPR.

I  Read more…

Whole-of-Government Approach: What It Means and How It Translates to Improving National Health Security

Author: Daniel Dodgen, Ph.D., Senior Advisor, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 2/6/2019 9:46:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

National Health Security Strategy Blog Series: Part 2

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published its quadrennial strategy to safeguard the nation’s health in times of crisis. The 2019-2022 National Health Security Strategy (NHSS) provides a vision to strengthen the nation’s ability to prevent, detect, assess, prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from disasters and emergencies.

The new strategy focuses on three overarching objectives: 1) prepare, mobilize, and co  Read more…

Four Ways to Plan to Protect Patient Health in a Medical Supply Shortage

Author: Laura Kwinn Wolf, Ph.D., Director, ASPR Division of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Michael Eltringham, Stakeholder Engagement Analyst, ASPR Critical Infrastructure Protection Program Contract Support
Published Date: 1/25/2019 11:59:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Exercises & Trainings;

Blog Series: Anticipating and Managing the Challenges Associated with Supply Shortages

According to FDA, there are currently 109 drugs in shortage in the U.S. Supply shortages threaten patient health even in the best circumstances, but their number and impact can be exacerbated by a prolonged disaster response. With so many shortages, one is likely to impact your hospital or healthcare facility at some point.  By planning to cope with the impacts of a supply shor  Read more…

The HPH RISC Toolkit: A No-Cost Risk Assessment for Your Healthcare Facility

Author: Brittney Seiler and Michael Eltringham, HHS ASPR Division of Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP)
Published Date: 1/17/2019 4:13:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness;

Managing risk is one of the most complex and critical aspects of running a healthcare facility. The goal of the Healthcare and Public Health Risk Identification and Site Criticality Toolkit (HPH RISC Toolkit) is simple: make that task easier – at no cost to the facilities.

The ASPR RISC Toolkit is a cost-effective, objective, data-driven, all-hazards risk assessment tool. It allows your facility to determine its ability to withstand a variety of 21st century health security threats, including chemical, b  Read more…

National Health Security Shapes Federal Approach to Evolving Threats

Author: Darrin Donato, Senior Policy Analyst for the Office of Strategy, Policy, Planning, and Requirements within HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 1/16/2019 12:02:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

Like others around the world, the United States faces diverse and evolving health security threats with the potential to disrupt public health and health care systems and inflict injury and loss of life. To drive U.S. actions to prepare, respond, and recover in the face of modern health security threats, Congress mandated a quadrennial National Health Security Strategy (NHSS).

The 2019-2022 NHSS assesses the current and future threat environment and outlines how the federal government will address vulnerabilities and gaps in public health and health care capabilities.  Read more…

Holiday Reflections on Disaster Recovery in Puerto Rico

Author: Josh Barnes, HHS/ASPR Recovery Director
Published Date: 12/21/2018 4:51:00 PM
Category: Observances; Response & Recovery;

Sometimes minor inconveniences can bring out an unexpected time for reflection. During a recent trip to Puerto Rico to visit with the HHS recovery team, my flight from Washington, D.C. into San Juan was diverted to Ponce, a couple hours away. After finally landing around 4 a.m. I made the drive in the dark, crossing the Sierras of Cayey and Jájome in those early morning hours to San Juan. Looking back, I’m grateful for that quiet time in the dark of the morning to see first-hand how much difference a year can make.

As I drove across the island, it was refreshing to s  Read more…

A Different Kind of Christmas

Author: By Himilce Velez, Healthcare Services Branch Director Health and Social Services Recovery Support Function DR-4339-Puerto Rico
Published Date: 12/21/2018 4:46:00 PM
Category: Observances; Response & Recovery;

Reflections on Health and Social Services Recovery in Puerto Rico

Hope. That´s the word that best describes Christmas for the people in Puerto Rico. We have one of the longest celebrations around the world full of folklore and customs. The season goes from November to mid-January.

Puerto Ricans believe that Christmas means happiness and celebration. We share experiences with our loved ones, getting together, singing different songs (we love to sing) and eating a variety of our delicious Christmas meals (i.e., pernil asado, rice and pigeons peas, potato salad  Read more…

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