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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…

Resolve to be Ready! Five Life-Saving Certifications and Trainings

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 12/22/2016 11:06:00 AM
Category:

No one knows exactly what 2017 will bring, but we do know emergencies happen across the country every year.  They could come in the form of natural disasters, man-made events, disease outbreaks, or every day events like heat waves and power outages.

But no one is helpless. Kick off the New Year on a positive note and inspire the change many communities need to become more resilient!

When it comes to national health security, the most important way you can help is making sure you, your family, and your fellow residents are prepared and resilient in the fa  Read more…

This New Year, Resolve to Become a Better Bystander

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 12/21/2016 6:27:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

When disaster strikes, bystanders are on the scene helping the injured before emergency responders arrive. In the first few minutes after a disaster, the actions that bystanders take to help others can make all the difference. Bystanders, even those with little or no medical training, can become heroic lifesavers during disasters.

As we witnessed during events over the past year like the winter superstorm Jonas, the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting, or the Houston floods, bystanders’ efforts can save a person’s life or give emergency responders the time they need to   Read more…

‘Tis the Season for Volunteering … with the MRC

Author: Brennan Leddy, Communications Specialist, Medical Reserve Corps Program
Published Date: 12/21/2016 3:28:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery; Exercises & Trainings;

This holiday season and into the New Year, I challenge us to also think of ways that we can give of our professional skills, training, and time to serve our local communities. While there are countless ways to do so — many of which were mentioned on the November ASPR blog — the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) provides a unique volunteer opportunity to strengthen public health and improve the safety of your community.

Established in 2002, the Medical Reserve Corps began with 42 community-based volunteer units   Read more…

Making health security a part of your community-based efforts

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 12/16/2016 10:51:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Response & Recovery;

The valuable work that most community-based organizations do each and every day within communities helps create stronger, healthier citizens, which in turn, helps our nation’s health security. And building stronger, healthier communities is a cornerstone of national health security.

Working to ensure that the health of a community and its residents stays strong and remains resilient in the face of any disaster events is one of the best ways community organizations can help build stronger national health security. So what does this community health resilience look like?

<  Read more…

4 tips to de-stress your kids this holiday season

Author: Lauren Lowenstein, Social Work Intern, Division for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health & Community Resilience (ABC), HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and Sarah Alcala, Management Analyst with Gap Solutions in support of the Division for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health & Community Resilience (ABC), HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 12/14/2016 5:02:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness;

Coming up with and paying for thoughtful gifts, decorating the home, making delicious food, and coordinating with friends and family – this common holiday to-do list is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed at times or stressed. In fact, an American Psychological Association poll found that eight out of ten households say they experience stress during the holidays. This stress was increased for caregivers and for households that have children. And if your family is recovering from a disaster or if the holidays coincide with the anniversary of a disaster, you may feel even more st  Read more…

Block Party! Building Community Health Resilience This Season

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 12/9/2016 12:11:00 PM
Category: National Health Security;

The holidays can be a great time to slow down and take some time to connect with your neighbors and the people in your community. How many people in your neighborhood or your community do you really know? And which of them would you go to for help after a disaster? Do you know which of them need the most help from you and your neighbors?

With busy schedules, it can be hard to get to know your neighbors, but there are fun and easy ways you can build ties to help secure your community’s health resilience, and in turn, our nation’s health security.

One such activity mo  Read more…

Ensuring a coordinated response to Zika and other public health threats

Author: George W. Korch, Jr., Senior Science Advisor, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 12/5/2016 12:41:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Innovations; Hospital Preparedness; Medical Countermeasures; Response & Recovery;

When the first confirmed case of Zika transmission was reported in Puerto Rico on December 31, 2015, there were no vaccine candidates for Zika. Today there are at least a dozen approaches in the US alone that are being evaluated to someday be available for general use. Diagnostic assays to help patients make informed decisions about their health are also under development.

How have so many medical countermeasures advanced so quickly to fight a threat that few people were worried about just last year?

The partners in the Public Health Emergency Medical Enterprise (PHEM  Read more…

Get Your Flu Shot for Yourself, Your Family and Your Community

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 12/5/2016 10:34:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; National Health Security;

This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week. You probably know that getting vaccinated is one great way to prevent getting the flu. Getting a flu vaccine also helps you keep your family and community healthy. It even helps you become a little more prepared for disasters.

Take care of yourself and your family

For everyone, getting the flu makes daily life harder. At a minimum, you’ll feel lousy and you’ll probably have to miss some time at school or work. But a lot of people have complications.  Read more…

Volunteer to make your community healthier, happier and more connected this holiday season

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 11/18/2016 11:03:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness;

With holidays like Thanksgiving fast approaching, many people will have the opportunity to reconnect with loved ones and build new ties with other members of their community. Volunteering is a great way to make new friends and help your community become healthier.

Communities that are more connected – the ones where people know each other and care about them – are healthier. When people know each other, they are better able to look out for the people around them, to know who needs a little more help, and to care enough to provide that help. These connections help keep co  Read more…

7 Ways You Can Help Your Community's Health Resilience

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 11/9/2016 5:26:00 PM
Category: National Health Security;

By working with friends and neighbors, community leaders and organizations across the country are keeping their residents safe and healthy every day and during disasters, building community health resilience in the process.

Communities can be as varied as the disasters they face. This means each community can create activities that work best for them and their unique needs.

Each community can make health resilience their own! To get you started, here are a few examples of activities that neighbors and community organizations can work on together to improve their c  Read more…

New Authority Gives State and Tribal Governments More Flexibility to Support a Better Disaster Health Response

Author: Bailey Rybak, Program Analyst, ASPR Office of Emergency and Nathan Hurwitz, Management and Presidential Management Fellow, ASPR Office of Emergency
Published Date: 11/4/2016 10:27:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness;

When a disaster strikes, state, local, tribal and territorial governments may want all hands on deck to respond to the crisis.  Historically, that has been easier said than done.  Staff who are funded under the Public Health Service (PHS) Act were only allowed to work within the scope of the program they were funded to support, even if responding to a disaster would have enabled them to better protect the community’s health.

But now, a state governor, tribal leader, or their designees can ask the Secretary of Health and Human Services to authorize the Read more…

Taking Stock of Cyber Threats During National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Author: Stephen Curren, Director, ASPR Office of Emergency Management, Division of Resilience
Published Date: 10/21/2016 10:32:00 AM
Category: Cyber Security;

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which provides us in the public health emergency management community a time to think about how we prepare for and respond to cybersecurity incidents within the context of all hazards. One thing has become increasingly clear over the past several years: cybersecurity is not just an IT problem. It also is a patient safety issue and it is increasingly an emergency management issue. This year healthcare organizations throughout the nation have been hit by an unprecedented round of ransomware attacks, which have temporarily inca  Read more…

Acute Medical Care: Navigating a Complex System

Author: Brendan G. Carr, MD MS, Director, Emergency Care Coordination Center; Tara Holland, MPH, CHES Sr. Management Analyst, GAP Solutions, Inc. - Supporting the mission of: Emergency Care Coordination Center (ECCC); and Jessica Oidtman, ScM – Policy Analyst, Division of Health System Policy
Published Date: 10/21/2016 10:28:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness;

Imagine you are on vacation. Your son slips, falls and is unable to walk on his injured leg. Should you go to the emergency department? Or would a retail clinic or urgent care center be better? And would that place have the X-ray machine or other capabilities necessary to care for your son?

Many factors influence when and why people choose to seek care. This is especially true for acute care – like your son’s injured leg – that is often time-sensitive and unscheduled. Some of these factors are personal, like the severity of an individual’s specific health condition; where t  Read more…

Better preparing for future Ebola outbreaks globally

Author: David Boucher, Health Scientist, ASPR/BARDA’s Division of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Medical Countermeasures and Dr. Richard Hatchett, acting director, ASPR’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority
Published Date: 10/13/2016 10:27:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Innovations; Medical Countermeasures;

While the Ebola virus disease is not in the news as much now as it once was, we cannot afford to let down our guard. Ebola cases flared up again as recently as this March in West Africa, causing eight deaths in Guinea and one death in Liberia, and more than 30 other outbreaks of the disease have been recorded in the last 40 years.

The Ebola outbreak of 2014-2016 highlighted the urgent need for therapeutics that could increase the survival rate of infected patients and also aid response organizations in their efforts to limit the spread of this deadly virus. ZMapp, developed  Read more…

From the front lines of the anthrax investigation to pre-staging our future health response

Author: Dr. Rick Jaffe, Director, Medical Countermeasures Strategy and Requirements, ASPR’s Office of Policy and Planning
Published Date: 9/29/2016 4:28:00 PM
Category: Innovations; Medical Countermeasures; Public Health Preparedness;

Fifteen years ago this month, anthrax was used as a terrorist weapon against our nation. As a microbiologist with experience in dealing with Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that causes anthrax illness, I was called in to be on the front lines of the investigation into the attack. Today, I help ensure our nation is best prepared for and can respond to a future one.

Soon after September 11, 2001, an attacker mailed letters laced with anthrax spores causing the deaths of five people and sickening 22 others. As part of the response, I donned a hazmat suit to investigate  Read more…

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