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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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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 combined resources with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to improve the state’s health security and public health preparedness.

NACCHO describes the accomplishments of the DHMH and MEMA partnership as ongoing, with the two agencies working together on a regular basis on program and procedures at the interaction of public health and national health security. One recent example, the association cited was the DHMH 2015 Heat Emergency Plan, which showcased the synergy of the two organizations. MEMA assisted with plan development and incorporated the agency’s strengths and available resources into the plan’s tactics. Through this collaboration, both organizations brought the respective capabilities and functionality that make them successful to the table and offered those strengths to one another with the focus on a single goal.

Through this continued alliance, the two agencies also provide national health security leadership and counsel to county-level governments, offering education on local infrastructure and citizen health protection. The two agencies worked with the government of Carroll County to help create the Public Health Preparedness and Response (PHPR) program, which was designed to protect the health of residents before, during, and after community emergencies, including natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and man-made emergencies.

Working closely with MEMA gave the health department access to MEMA’s private sector integration program. Resources that already exist within local, state and federal government departments can be great assets, particularly as local agencies look to be increasingly efficient in how they operate.

The efforts in Maryland demonstrate the value of agencies teaming up to reach similar preparedness and response goals. By designing new programs and policies together, agencies can amplify their service offerings, and the populations they serve become stronger, better equipped, and more resilient. The result is a win-win for both parties, as well as a win for the whole community.

(Source: NACCHOExit Icon )


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