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How to Include Health Security in Your Community’s Summer Events

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 7/19/2017 12:16:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

For communities across the country, summer is the season when many are looking to get out of the house and enjoy time with friends and neighbors. Whenever people get together, volunteer organizations have a chance to teach their communities how to become healthier and more resilient. Whether your community is getting together at a block party, a community fair, a picnic, outdoor movie, or another fun event, you can use it as an opportunity to improve your community’s health security.

Start by checking your local calendar of events to see what local summer events are already  Read more…

Four Great Ways for Local Public Health to Increase National Health Security

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 7/12/2017 5:08:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

Your public health agency or organization probably sponsors many 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 achieving national health security?

Disasters could strike at any time, and when they do, they could threaten the health of an entire community. By providing services that help residents become healthy, strong, and prepared, public health practitioners and organizations can help build community resilience. Com  Read more…

Prepare to Play It Cool: Helping At-Risk Populations Combat Extreme Heat

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 6/29/2017 11:27:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness; Hospital Preparedness;

Summer is officially in full swing, and temperatures are sizzling in several parts of the country. While hurricanes, floods, and storms may be the types of severe weather most emergency planners and responders consider, extreme heat can be just as damaging, if not more. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, extreme heat kills more than 600 people every year in the United States, making it a top cause of weather-related deaths.

Whether as a rising average temperature or as heat waves, extreme heat is a health threat that can be more far reaching than an  Read more…

Working or Volunteering on July 4th? Beat the Heat!

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 6/27/2017 6:33:00 PM
Category: National Health Security;

Over the next few days, EMS providers, fire fighters, Medical Reserve Corps, and many other community members will be supporting Independence Day celebrations. In planning for emergencies during mass gatherings, these workers and volunteers need to remember the “airplane mask rule” and ensure their own health and safety before helping others.

Typically people who work outdoors aren’t considered a medically vulnerable population, yet they are at high risk for heat-related illnesses like heat stroke, exhaustion, cramps or rashes. In fact, most occupational heat-relat  Read more…

When and how to help older people during and after disasters

Author: Cheryl A. Levine, Ph.D., Senior Policy Analyst & Team Lead for At-Risk Individuals, ASPR’s Division for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health & Community Resilience
Published Date: 6/27/2017 1:39:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;

Older people benefit from a lifetime of knowledge and experience that builds skills for coping with adversity and improves their ability to bounce back from disasters, also known as individual resilience. While many older people want to - and can - handle the challenges that arise from disasters on their own, their friends, loved ones, and even neighbors need to know when the older adults in their lives need a helping hand.

For those who live independently in the community, a little bit of assistance c  Read more…

EMS Infectious Disease Playbook: Combatting Infectious Disease Threats with Knowledge and Best Practices

Author: Jennifer Nieratko, ASPR TRACIE Team; John Hick, MD, Emergency Physician and Deputy Chief EMS Medical Director, Hennepin County Medical Center & HHS; and Richard Hunt, MD, Senior Medical Advisor, National Healthcare Preparedness Programs, HHS/ASPR Office of Emergency Management
Published Date: 6/26/2017 10:58:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Innovations;

Emergency medical services (EMS) providers face a wide variety of risks on an almost daily basis, ranging from physically dangerous scenes and combative patients or bystanders to inattentive drivers to the negative behavioral health effects of exposure to traumatic incidents. While EMS personnel cannot predict which hazard they may face on any given day, the entire EMS community – medical directors who establish policies and procedures, dispatchers who direct personnel to patients, and responders at a scene – has a stake in staying up-to-date on innovations in the field and related  Read more…

What About Sparky? Incorporating Animals into Disaster Preparedness

Author: Captain Charlotte Spires, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, Executive Director, National Advisory Committees for ASPR
Published Date: 6/20/2017 3:27:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;

As an emergency responder, what would you do if you suddenly had to care for 6,000 animals after a disaster? That was one of the biggest questions that I faced during Hurricane Katrina. In the wake of the storm, thousands of pets ended up at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Louisiana. The link between disaster veterinary health and the disaster human health became obvious really quickly. Evacuees and their pets both needed disaster health support.

Over half (68%) of all households in the U.S. have a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association. Even though so ma  Read more…

A Navigation Tool for the Emergency and Acute Care System

Author: Brendan Carr, M.D., director, ASPR Emergency Care Coordination Center
Published Date: 6/15/2017 10:08:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness;

In a Midwestern town, Sherri’s son injured himself with a chain saw cleaning up debris after a tornado; Sherri was gripped by fear, which quickly gave way to frustration and confusion. A thousand miles away, on the East Coast, hours after a hurricane blasted Tom’s hometown, his mother suddenly had chest pain. He thought she should see a doctor but he wasn’t sure where to take her post-storm. All Sherri and Tom wanted to do was take care of their loved ones, but they were confronted with a healthcare system that they did not fully understand, and they had no idea where to get the ri  Read more…

Serving through the Storm: Choosing the Right Service Organization

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 6/14/2017 12:14:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

It’s hurricane season – and NOAA anticipates more hurricanes this year than usual. In many parts of the country, that means people are topping off their emergency supplies and revisiting their emergency plans. At least we hope so! This is also a great time to choose to volunteer or join a service organization.​

By choosing to serve on a response team before a hurricane strikes in your community, you are more likely to be ready to help when seconds count. Disasters a  Read more…

Scouting for Success: Engaging Youth to Boost Community Resilience

Author: Darrin Donato; Community Resilience Policy Coordinator; HHS-ASPR Office of Policy and Planning, Division for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health, and Community Resilience
Published Date: 6/6/2017 12:00:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

Do you want to support students as they learn to overcome adversity, connect with their communities, and develop positive relationships with adults? Consider engaging with scouting organizations which teach students all of these skills. As students work with adults, adult leaders often come to respect and connect with students in ways that can benefit the community.

The first objective of the National Health Security Strategy covers an incredibly important, and equally ambitious, task—to “build and susta  Read more…

How to Save a Life in 12 Minutes Using Just Your Bare Hands

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 5/31/2017 11:10:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness; Exercises & Trainings;

Twelve minutes doesn’t seem like a lot of time. It’s about enough time to go through your morning e-mail, take out the trash and feed the dog, or grab a cup of coffee. But if someone’s heartbeat or breathing has stopped, 12 minutes means the difference between life and death. On average, it takes first responders 8-12 minutes to respond to a 911 call, according to the American Red Cross. The chance of survival for someone in need of defibrillation is reduced by 10% for each minute that passes without it.

Most people who survive those twelve minutes were helped by a bysta  Read more…

What Does Stigma have to do with Mental Health and Disasters?

Author: Sarah Alcala, Senior Management Analyst with Aveshka Inc. in support of the Division for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health & Community Resilience and Rachel E. Kaul, LCSW, CTS, Senior Policy Analyst and Behavioral Health Team Lead, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 5/30/2017 2:41:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;

According to the World Health Organization, 44-70 percent of people that needed mental health interventions do not receive treatment in any given year. Former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher said that stigma was perhaps the biggest barrier to people seeking mental health care. Stigma is a negative and often unfair projection of shame or judgment onto people in a particular circumstance. It occurs when people socially distance a group of “others” based on perceived negative stereotypes. People with mental illness can also self-stigmatize, which can lead to denial, unwillingnes  Read more…

From EMS to NHS: Emergency Management and Health Security

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 5/23/2017 1:18:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

Conversations about national health security often take place within the context of the public health field. Yet medical care is just as critical to national health security. Public health is fundamentally the collective health of every individual in the community, and in a disaster or public health emergency, the nation’s emergency medical services – that “pre-hospital” care – stands on the front lines of our nation’s defense.

The National Health Security Strategy (NHSS) recognizes the signif  Read more…

The EMS Evolution to Improve Prehospital Care

Author: Edward J. Gabriel, MPA, EMT-P, CEM, CBCP Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 5/19/2017 4:04:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Observances;

As a career-long paramedic and certified emergency manager, I’m very excited about the trends I see in EMS. This is a dynamic field. Over the last 50 years, the U.S. has made incredible progress in Emergency Medical Services – better known by the acronym EMS. EMS professionals built a strong system that’s always in service, available 24/7 in nearly every community across the country…and help is just a 3-digit call away. EMS professionals have driven dramatic changes in technology and prehospital medicine, professional education and the way emergency medical services are managed to   Read more…

Preparing to Meet the Needs of Pediatric Patients in Disasters: Progress and the Path Forward

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: 5/17/2017 4:03:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness;

Many parts of the health systems that we rely on to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters were designed with adults in mind; however, nearly 25% of the people in the U.S. are children. Children’s disaster health needs may be different from those of adults. For example, medications developed for adults may require different dosages or formulations to be safe for children to take. Children also process information and cope with disasters differently than adults. The list of differences goes on and on.

By working together, HHS is finding solutions to problems   Read more…

How Students Can Empower Their Communities to Protect Against Zika

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 5/17/2017 10:29:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

Warm spring temperatures often bring fun outdoor activities for many people across the country. Those warm temperatures also usher in mosquito season and the diseases, like Zika, that some mosquitoes carry. That’s why everyone should take steps to protect against mosquito bites.

Students likely have heard about Zika on the news, social media, or possibly even in school classes over the past year, but they may not know about the potential risk to their own community and what they can do to educate friends, family members, and neighbors about what we can all do to help prevent  Read more…

The Link between Mental and Behavioral Health and National Health Security: 3 Key Planning Considerations

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 5/10/2017 4:28:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

Our physical and psychological well-being are inseparable. Yet people often think only of physical health when they think about national health security. The connection with mental and behavioral health may not jump to the forefront. Yet, much of the work in this field and the needs of a community during and after a disaster demonstrate the importance of mental and behavioral health to our nation’s health security. Making sure these services are available during and after emergencies can help communities recover more quickly.

Community health resilience is the cornerstone of  Read more…

Strength in Numbers: Community Preparedness Partnerships

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 5/3/2017 2:18:00 PM
Category: National Health Security;

New partnerships between organizations are an essential part of advancing national health security. Joint efforts allow participating organizations to minimize their weaknesses and augment their strengths. One of the quickest and easiest ways a government agency specifically can expand its capabilities is to collaborate with another entity with that specific expertise, building new relationships in the process.

According to the National Association of County and City Health Officials, that’s what the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) did when it combine  Read more…

How my fraternity’s commitment to service launched community health fairs and improved national health security

Author: Okey K. Enyia, MPH, Jr. Management Analyst, Aveshka, Inc., Division of Policy and Strategic Planning, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 4/26/2017 9:54:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

In the fall of 1997, I became a proud member of a Greek-letter fraternity at my university in Illinois, and I’m now a member of an alumni chapter in Prince George’s County, Maryland. One of the fraternity’s objectives is to provide voice and vision to the struggle of African Americans and people of color around the world.

  Read more…

Medical Reserve Corps: Building Bridges to Promote Health Security for Every Community

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 4/19/2017 4:41:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

Did you know that your zip code can be a predictor of your health? So can your place of birth, where you work and play, your income and education, as well as the choices you make each day about what you eat, when to exercise, and whether or not to see a doctor. These factors, recognized by public health professionals as social determinants of health, are linked to inequities in health and healthcare (health disparities) that disproportionately affect racial and   Read more…

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