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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


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. ASPR leads the development and implementation of this strategy.

The newly released NHSS places particular emphasis on 21st century threats, risks that are emerging, changing, or worsening such as extreme weather; infectious diseases and pandemics; cyberattacks; and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear hazards.

To safeguard health security, the 2019-2022 NHSS focuses on three overarching objectives:

  1. Prepare, mobilize, and coordinate a whole-of-government approach to bring the full spectrum of federal medical and public health capabilities to support state, local, tribal, and territorial authorities in a public health emergency, disaster, or attack;
  2. Protect the nation from the health effects of emerging and pandemic infectious diseases and CBRN threats; and
  3. Leverage the capabilities of the private sector.

The NHSS includes an implementation plan that describes federal actions to support state, local, tribal, territorial, and private partners’ efforts to advance health security capabilities. The NHSS also incorporates an evaluation of progress over the past three years, assessing the nation’s efforts to achieve the health security goals of the prior quadrennial NHSS.

While the latest NHSS focuses on federal actions, ensuring a health-secure nation is only possible with strong partnerships. All levels of government and members of our society play roles in improving response and recovery from 21st century threats. We encourage partners to customize the strategies outlined in the NHSS to address the needs of their communities and constituents. Only together can the nation be ready to save lives and protect against such the serious consequences of ever-evolving health security threats.

To learn more, read the full National Health Security Strategy​.  


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