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Category: National Health Security

Rapid Assessment Tools for Responders to Address Needs of Individuals Experiencing Homelessness during 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: 9/19/2017 1:17:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery; National Health Security;

Natural disasters and emergencies – such as hurricanes, flooding and other extreme weather conditions – create challenges and significantly impact communities. The recent destruction and devastation caused by this year’s hurricanes highlight concerns for the addressing the disaster needs of impacted populations.

Of special concern during these events are at-risk individuals – these include people with access and functional needs that may interfere with their ability to access or receive medical care before, during, or after a disaster or emergency. Under Read more…

BARDA adds new antibiotic to treat drug-resistant bacterial infections in order to protect the American public

Author: Mark Albrecht, Project Officer, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 8/30/2017 1:21:00 PM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; Public Health Preparedness; Innovations; National Health Security;

Antibiotics underpin nearly every facet of modern medicine. You can’t have a hip replacement or a caesarean section without effective antibiotics to prevent or treat bacterial infections. The same holds true in a mass public health emergency involving a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) threat. During a biodefense emergency, people may be hospitalized for prolonged periods, potentially exposing them to secondary infections including drug-resistant infections that are occurring at an alarming rate.

That’s why BARDA is focused on development and approval of  Read more…

Get Social: Using Online Networks to Advance Health Security

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 8/16/2017 9:41:00 AM
Category: National Health Security;

You probably know that Americans of all ages use social media, but did you know that social media has emerged as a critical resource for the public in disasters, providing timely situational awareness, preparedness guidance, and emergency assistance?

According to the American Red Cross, one in five people will try an online channel for help if unable to reach EMS in an emergency. Many emergency services, health organizations, and even news and government agencies also depend on social media for vital information in crisis and disaster events.

Whether your agency or or  Read more…

Influenza, Measles, and Tetanus: Preventing the Spread of Life-Threatening Diseases during Disasters and Every Day

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 8/9/2017 9:52:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

Over the years vaccines have prevented countless cases of disease and saved millions of lives. Routine vaccination protects people from 18 dangerous or deadly diseases. There are many reasons to stay up-to-date on your vaccinations and to make sure that your family members get vaccinated, but here’s one that you might not have thought of: vaccination can help keep you healthy when disaster strikes.

Immunizations are especially important in the wake of disasters for residents who have to evacuate their homes. In any public place, you’ll be exposed to illnesses of other   Read more…

In High Demand: How Health Centers Can Build Surge Capacity, Support People with Access and Functional Needs, and Advance National Health Security

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 8/2/2017 10:34:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Hospital Preparedness; Public Health Preparedness;

Our nation’s network of nearly 1,400 community health centers play a vital role in providing health care services to almost 25 million patients, including 8.4 million patients in rural health centers. When a disaster strikes, they have a key role in supporting national health security by continuing to provide services to the people they care for every day.

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, community health cente  Read more…

The Health Watch: Keeping Your Neighborhood Secure

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 7/26/2017 10:07:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

When it comes to volunteering to keep your community healthy and safe, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start. Creating a neighborhood health watch is one way you can start helping those in need, protecting our nation’s health security in the process. Making your community more organized and connected will help you become more resilient in the face of a wide variety of disasters – from fires and floods to disease outbreaks and even man made events.

You’ve probably heard of a regular neighborhood watch before, where people living in an area get together sometim  Read more…

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…

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…

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…

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…

How forming a neighborhood sports team improved community resilience and national health security

Author: Jay Petillo, Director, ASPR Office of Financial Planning and Analysis
Published Date: 4/12/2017 2:44:00 PM
Category: National Health Security;

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years coaching my kids’ ball teams in the neighborhood, basketball for my girls and baseball for my son. I’m a sports guy so it was a lot of fun. But I never really thought about how what I was doing actually affected national health security.

We have a good-sized  neighborhood and when we started the basketball team, not everyone knew each other. Through the team, the kids got to be friends and so did all the parents. We ended up with a really strong social network. With a lot of parents working, you all take turns getting kids   Read more…

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