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Tails from the Field: An Unusual Ambassador for Preparedness

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 3/23/2017 11:23:00 AM
Category: National Health Security;

He’s been called “Fred’s driver.” He’s been called “that guy.” Michael McNulty, emergency operations director for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), says that’s OK because Fred the Preparedness Dog is the one spreading the message of safety and resilience.

After Fred, McNulty’s German Shepherd, took shelter in the bathtub on a stormy day in 2013, his owner gave him a backpack with emergency supplies and promoted a picture on social media. “Having worked in emergency preparedness for ten years, I saw something more in that picture: Fred was doing a go  Read more…

From Concept to Operations: Building Disaster Health Resilience in one of America’s Largest Communities

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 3/17/2017 11:05:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

If you want to take your disaster health security plans from paper to practice you need to involve the community – no matter what the size. But when your community is large, diverse and vulnerable to a wide array of threats, community engagement becomes even more important. Los Angeles is the second largest city in the U.S. and it is vulnerable to 13 of the 16  Read more…

Strengthening Global Health Security: A 17-Year Partnership

Author: Division of International Heath Security
Published Date: 3/8/2017 6:07:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Exercises & Trainings;

In 2009, the influenza virus called H1N1 emerged in the United States and swiftly worked its way around the world, creating the first pandemic in decades. We learned that Mother Nature can be an efficient bioterrorist. From that global response as well as other nations’ responses to emerging infectious diseases and man-made terrorism – from bombings to chemical weapons – we’ve seen the advantages in collaborating with partner countries. Working together to strengthen global health security helps us become better prepared at home to respond to natural and man-made threats.

O  Read more…

Building A Little More Community Resilience Every Day

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 3/8/2017 3:00:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

How Local Health Departments are Strengthening National Health Security

Every day, in communities across the country, local health departments are working to strengthen national health security.  Many of the day-to-day activities of public health make communities healthier and more resilient in the face of a disaster.  When local health departments support vaccination clinics, take steps to teach the community about emergency preparedness, and bring together volunteers, they are supporting national health security.

Many peop  Read more…

Connecting Your Faith-Based Organization with the Community: 5 Projects That Help Build Health Security

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 3/3/2017 12:07:00 PM
Category: National Health Security;

Every day, people across the country connect with others in their neighborhoods through faith-based organizations. Whether through services at a local congregation or leading volunteer efforts, faith-based organizations support their local communities provide opportunities for its members to build social ties.

Your faith-based organization probably already sponsors a number of programs that focus on the health of people in your community, but did you know that making sure the people in your neighborhood can stay healthy before, during, or after a disaster is critical to achi  Read more…

Success Starts with STEM: Diversity in Education & Leadership Development

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 2/24/2017 10:42:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness; Observances;

Students who focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) aren’t just starting a great career path – they are also strengthening the future of national health security. Studying STEM subjects provides a foundation for community health resilience and disaster preparedness skills. But according to the U.S. Department of Education, African-American students are underrepresented in STEM programs, with African-American students obtaining just 7.6 percent of   Read more…

Preparing for the Worst Means Training Like the Best

Author: Ron Miller, Acting Director, National Disaster Medical System, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Published Date: 2/23/2017 10:40:00 AM
Category: Exercises & Trainings; Public Health Preparedness;

NDMS teams train regionally to protect health nationwide when disasters strike

When rain fell in Louisiana last year, the local health care system was flooded with patients.  The state requested the help of medical professionals from National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) – a network of over 5,000 health and medical professionals managed by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). NDMS teams were on the ground in a matter of  Read more…

Cooperating, Communication, Coordination and Collaboration: Non-Profit and Faith-Based Organizations Work Together to Improve Disaster Health

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 2/16/2017 12:39:00 PM
Category: National Health Security;

National Health Security Public-Private Partnership Series

During the recovery from Hurricane Katrina, officials in Harrison County, Mississippi, realized that the county emergency operations center and the county’s disaster preparedness approach needed vital improvements. 

They needed to bring community and faith-based organizations to the table and incorporate them into the county’s plans, response operations; the organizations needed representation in emergency operations center so they could coordinate better.

Before the hurric  Read more…

Care and Prepare: Little Things Count

Author: Cheryl Levine, PhD, Senior Policy Analyst & Team Lead for At-Risk Individuals, Division for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health & Community Resilience (ABC)
Published Date: 2/11/2017 7:39:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness;

Disasters and public health emergencies come in many varieties.  They can occur anywhere and anytime.  Yet, disaster preparedness can be one of those things that we just don’t like to think about.  We don’t like to think about making a plan or building kit because we don’t want to think about bad things affecting our families or communities. 

Using the power of positive thinking, we can focus on simple activities we do every day to make our families and our communities safe.  Sometimes the “small things” we do to show that we care can also he  Read more…

Public Health and Business Team Up for Health Security: The Miami-Dade Business Recovery Program

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 2/10/2017 10:35:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

National Health Security Public-Private Partnership Series

Every day, the people in your community rely on businesses.  Whether they are buying apples at the local bodega or going to work at a major corporation with its headquarters in your city or state, people rely on businesses for their physical and mental well-being.  That connection to health security is even easier to see when the business is a health clinic, pharmacy or other health-related provider.

Businesses are key to your community’s overall health and they can   Read more…

Next-Generation Burn Care Products and Strategies Draw on Innovative Ideas

Author: Narayan Iyer, Ph.D., Chief, Burn MCM, CBRN, BARDA; Julio Barrera-Oro, Ph.D.; Danielle Turley, Ph.D.; David Simon, Ph.D.; Oxana Selivanova, Ph.D.; Joe Larsen, Ph.D. Director (Acting), CBRN, BARDA; and Gary Disbrow, Ph.D. Deputy Director (Acting), BARDA.
Published Date: 2/6/2017 9:46:00 AM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; Public Health Preparedness;

Thousands of people could need burn care following a nuclear detonation (which produces intense heat resulting in severe burns) or in a massive explosion. In addition to those catastrophic threats, between 2010 and 2014, emergency departments treated approximately 486,000 people for non-fatal burn injuries and in 2014 alone, fires took the lives of 3,275 people. Specialized treatment resources are limited, with only 127 burn centers nationwide; a mass casualty incident easily could overwhelm the nation’s burn care infrastructure.

Within ASPR, the Biomedical Advanced Re  Read more…

Resilience AmeriCorps: Helping Communities Better Manage the Unavoidable and Avoid the Unmanageable

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 2/2/2017 4:46:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

National Health Security Public-Private Partnership Series

Partnerships among public health professionals and agencies and private entities like non-profits, businesses, or community organizations, are not only a key strategy in advancing national health security, they are also a way to increase the visibility and viability of public health projects, reducing development risk, mobilizing underused resources, and increasing overall cost effectiveness in the process.

Severe weather has the potential to cause significan  Read more…

Strengthening the Links in Disaster Supply Chain Management

Author: Laura K. Wolf, Ph.D., Branch Chief, Critical Infrastructure Protection Branch, Office of Emergency Management, HHS ASPR
Published Date: 2/1/2017 4:52:00 PM
Category: Innovations; Public Health Preparedness;

When you are responding to a pandemic flu outbreak, you don’t just need a safe and effective vaccines and antivirals – you also need syringes and other medical supplies so that they can be administered.  Sounds simple, but supply chain issues caused serious problems during the responses to the H1N1 influenza outbreak, Hurricane Sandy, and Ebola.

Healthcare and public health systems rely on the availability of products such as pharmaceuticals, laboratory testing supplies, personal protective equipment, and medical devices to care for the American people.  Ava  Read more…

The Role of Public-Private Partnerships in National Health Security

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 1/27/2017 2:01:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Hospital Preparedness; Public Health Preparedness;

When it comes to national health security, creating new partnerships between private organizations and public entities is a key priority. These public-private partnerships (PPPs) often work to support health security efforts in new ways that can support communities in need, especially during or after a disaster event.

With 90 percent of critical health infrastructure operated by the private sector, creating new partnerships for public health organizations that can support preparedness and response planning is vital for creating truly health secure communities.

A publi  Read more…

From lessons learned to planning tools: Find out how you can help communities cope with disasters

Author: Rachel E. Kaul, LCSW, CTS, Senior Policy Analyst and Behavioral Health Team Lead, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and Lauren Lowenstein, Social Work Intern, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 1/27/2017 1:46:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;

When a disaster strikes, it can be easy to see how the disaster damages buildings, bridges and parks. But the disaster’s impacts on behavioral health may not be so easy to see. Do you want a better understanding of ways that disasters affect behavioral health? Do you want to know how the federal government can help support behavioral health before, during, and after a disaster? Are you involved in emergency preparedness activities for a state, local, territorial, or tribal (SLTT) agency? Do you work for an organization that provides health services in emergencies?

If you a  Read more…

Connecting Students with their Communities: 4 Projects to Help Strengthen Health Resilience

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 1/19/2017 1:18:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

Organizations already working with students know that they offer unique connections within their communities and are better able to communicate with their fellow students and inspire action among their peers. What’s more, those involved with teaching students about service and volunteerism at an early age also know that it can help establish lifelong habits that have a positive effect on the entire community!

ASPR wants to work with organizations involved with students to get them to start thinking about how health resilience and health security tie into fun and educational   Read more…

What is everyday resilience, and why is it important?

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 1/13/2017 2:12:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; National Health Security;

Improving everyday resilience is all about taking actions that make people – and ultimately the nation –prepared and stronger. Resilient people help to create resilient communities that are better protected in the face of smaller, everyday incidents, and better able to withstand, manage, and recover from disasters. This in turn, strengthens national health security.

Chances are you already participate in activities that build everyday individual and community health resilience. Strengthening everyday resilience can be as simple as making new relationships in your community,   Read more…

The Medical Reserve Corps Celebrates 15 Years of Service and Meeting Community Needs

Author: Dagayla Burks, Communications Specialist, Medical Reserve Corps Program
Published Date: 1/12/2017 1:32:00 PM
Category: Observances; Public Health Preparedness;

This year, the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) will celebrate 15 years of serving local community needs, and it’s exciting to be able to reflect on the program’s growth. The MRC was created to engage volunteers to strengthen public health and community resilience following the 2002 presidential State of the Union Address that called on Americans to volunteer in support of their country.

What started with just 42 community-based units that first year, the MRC is now almost 1,000 units strong with more than 200,000 volunteers — from youth to retirees — with medical, public h  Read more…

BARDA-supported Zika vaccine candidate enters clinical trial

Author: Rick Bright, Director, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)
Published Date: 1/9/2017 5:24:00 PM
Category: Innovations; Medical Countermeasures; Public Health Preparedness;

The U.S. government has marked another significant milestone in its effort to better protect Americans against the Zika virus: the first ASPR-supported Zika vaccine has begun a Phase I clinical trial, which will evaluate the general safety of the vaccine in people and provide information on the ways that different doses of the vaccine impact immune response.

The investigational vaccine developed by Moderna Therapeutics of Cambridge, Massachusetts, utilizes a novel messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology. Moderna’s vaccine consists of a small piece of mRNA that when injec  Read more…

Do you know who in your community is most at-risk in a disaster?

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 1/6/2017 10:10:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

When a disaster strikes, it can harm the health of anyone in your community. However, some people are less likely to weather the storm because they may have certain medical conditions, are not able to get the help they need, or because they rely on others for help.

Helping these people during an emergency and keeping their health secure means being prepared to meet their needs. Is your community-based organization ready to serve?

Who qualifies as “at-risk”?

People who will likely have more trouble staying safe and healthy during a   Read more…

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