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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Category: Observances

BARDA Ventures: A New Approach to Partnership

Author: Sandeep Patel, Ph.D, BARDA DRIVe Director, and Justin Yang, MBA, Catalyst Office Director
Published Date: 11/19/2020 1:08:00 PM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; Observances; National Health Security;

How can we make sure our country has the vaccines, therapeutic treatments, diagnostics and other technology that are needed to save lives in a public health emergency? Part of the answer is encouraging innovators and entrepreneurs to partner with the federal government, and doing so requires rethinking the typical government approach to research, development and acquisition. Over the last decade, the success of HHS, ASPR, and BARDA has been to partner with the most innovative, fearless, and best partners in industry. These partnerships have helped push preparedness efforts farthe  Read more…

Medical Reserve Corps volunteers’ hands felt at every level of the response to COVID-19

Author: Esmeralda Pereira, Medical Reserve Corps Program Director
Published Date: 4/24/2020 4:33:00 PM
Category: Response & Recovery; Observances;

A volunteer nurse gathers nasal swabs at a drive-through testing site in Bremerton, Washington. A team delivers food to vulnerable community members in Framingham, Massachusetts. A unit in Columbus, Ohio, conducts temperature checks and assists at a shelter for homeless community members who test positive for coronavirus or COVID-19. Volunteers in New Mexico assemble and pack boxes for food banks. In each community, neighbors, coworkers, kids’ schoolteachers, and patients recognize them.

All have one thing in common: They are volunteers with the Read more…

Preparing for the Next Pandemic

Author: Robert Kadlec, MD, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Published Date: 12/10/2019 3:38:00 PM
Category: Hospital Preparedness; Observances; Medical Countermeasures; Public Health Preparedness;

End-to-end Solutions to Combat Next Influenza Pandemic

Last year, many of us paused to recognize the 100th anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic that infected approximately one third of the world’s population and killed at least 50 million people. Yet influenza outbreaks and pandemics are not just some footnote of history. In just the last decade, we have faced three serious influenza-related incidents: a severe flu season in 2017 claimed the lives of 79,000 people,  Read more…

Giving Your Community Health, Warmth and Resilience

Author: Jennifer Frenette, Region 1 Liaison, HHS/ASPR Medical Reserve Corps.
Published Date: 11/27/2019 7:26:00 AM
Category: Observances; Public Health Preparedness;

MRC Volunteers Strengthen Communities during the Holiday Season and Beyond

The holiday season is a time for giving. We spend hours (sometimes weeks, months…) searching for and picking out the perfect gifts for friends and family. Many of us donate to non-profits and charitable organizations. We even give to ourselves – often taking important time off to unwind and connect with our loved ones.

  Read more…

The power of partnership: BARDA ushers in 50th FDA-approved product for health security

Author: Rick Bright, Ph.D., BARDA Director and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 10/11/2019 2:49:00 PM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; Observances; National Health Security;

At BARDA, we are proud to have established unique partnerships with industry that create solutions for the American people. By working together, we have earned – as of last week – our 50th and 51st U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals, licensures and clearances in the past 12 years for products that address some of our nation’s most challenging health security threats. BARDA and our private sector partners achieved eight of these in the past year alone, substantially increasing the nation’s health security preparedness.


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The Intersection of Hurricane Response and Opioid Use Disorder

Author: Rachel Kaul, LCSW, CTS, Senior Advisor for Behavioral Health, HHS/ASPR Emergency Management and Medical Operations
Published Date: 5/6/2019 8:38:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Observances;

What Disaster Responders, Healthcare Professionals, and Disaster Relief Service Providers Need to Know

Hurricane season is just around the corner.  If you are thinking about ways to prepare for the next hurricane, take a moment to consider this:  approximately 2.1 million people have an opioid use disorder according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and over 47,000 of them died by overdose in 2017 according to a  Read more…

Holiday Reflections on Disaster Recovery in Puerto Rico

Author: Josh Barnes, HHS/ASPR Recovery Director
Published Date: 12/21/2018 4:51:00 PM
Category: Observances; Response & Recovery;

Sometimes minor inconveniences can bring out an unexpected time for reflection. During a recent trip to Puerto Rico to visit with the HHS recovery team, my flight from Washington, D.C. into San Juan was diverted to Ponce, a couple hours away. After finally landing around 4 a.m. I made the drive in the dark, crossing the Sierras of Cayey and Jájome in those early morning hours to San Juan. Looking back, I’m grateful for that quiet time in the dark of the morning to see first-hand how much difference a year can make.

As I drove across the island, it was refreshing to s  Read more…

A Different Kind of Christmas

Author: By Himilce Velez, Healthcare Services Branch Director Health and Social Services Recovery Support Function DR-4339-Puerto Rico
Published Date: 12/21/2018 4:46:00 PM
Category: Observances; Response & Recovery;

Reflections on Health and Social Services Recovery in Puerto Rico

Hope. That´s the word that best describes Christmas for the people in Puerto Rico. We have one of the longest celebrations around the world full of folklore and customs. The season goes from November to mid-January.

Puerto Ricans believe that Christmas means happiness and celebration. We share experiences with our loved ones, getting together, singing different songs (we love to sing) and eating a variety of our delicious Christmas meals (i.e., pernil asado, rice and pigeons peas, potato salad  Read more…

Building hope while rebuilding health and social services: a year after the historic 2017 hurricanes

Author: Josh Barnes, HHS/ASPR Recovery Director
Published Date: 9/20/2018 3:57:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Observances;

Disaster anniversaries can be difficult emotionally for survivors and responders alike. As the months and years go by, the television cameras and the imagery of destruction often leave the airwaves far earlier than when the effects of the disaster are resolved. As national attention fades, the communities must sustain their momentum with a focused recovery effort, which can be complicated and frustrating.

Disaster anniversaries are also opportunities for noting progress and ultimately…for hope because residents and leaders saw disaster recovery as an opportunity to learn fr  Read more…

From 1918 to 2018: BARDA’s Role in the Evolution of Pandemic Preparedness

Author: Rick Bright, Director, and Julie Schafer, Acting Director of Strategy, both of ASPR’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a component of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)
Published Date: 5/21/2018 4:56:00 PM
Category: Innovations; Public Health Preparedness; Observances; Medical Countermeasures; National Health Security;

BARDA and its industry partners have made tremendous strides to build better, faster, and more flexible vaccine technologies to enable the right vaccine to be where we need it, when we need it. Combating this age-old problem is an epic challenge, and there is still work to be done to speed availability of life-saving vaccines in a pandemic.

In September 1918, a doctor stationed at Camp Devens, a military base located near Boston, Massachusetts, wrote a letter to a colleague:

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Fighting microscopic threats through international collaboration: Health ministers use lessons learned from the 1918 influenza pandemic to strengthen pandemic preparedness and global health security

Author: Division of International Heath Security
Published Date: 3/19/2018 4:37:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Observances; Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;

One hundred years ago, the 1918 influenza pandemic caused massive devastation, ultimately infecting over 500 million people and killing between 50 and 100 million individuals worldwide. During recent outbreaks of influenza, Ebola, and other emerging infectious diseases, we have learned how critical collaboration among countries and international organizations is for an expedited and more effective response. Working together with our partners to strengthen global health security is crucial to protect Americans from pandemics and other health security threats despite whether they sta  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…

Success Starts with STEM: Diversity in Education & Leadership Development

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 2/24/2017 10:42:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness; Observances;

Students who focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) aren’t just starting a great career path – they are also strengthening the future of national health security. Studying STEM subjects provides a foundation for community health resilience and disaster preparedness skills. But according to the U.S. Department of Education, African-American students are underrepresented in STEM programs, with African-American students obtaining just 7.6 percent of   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…

EMS Week 2016: Honoring those who Help Protect Health and Keep our Health Care System Strong

Author: Nicole Lurie, MD, MSPH, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response & Edward J. Gabriel, MPA, EMT-P, CEM, CBCP, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 5/17/2016 4:30:00 PM
Category: Observances; Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;

This week, May 15-21, 2016, we celebrate our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professionals. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) would like to take a moment to personally thank all EMS professionals for the essential role they play in protecting the health of our nation each and every day.

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society, the seminal work regarded by many as the catalyst for the development of modern day emergency medical serv  Read more…

The link between our planet’s health and our own wellbeing

Author: Shulamit Schweitzer, MHS, Senior Management Analyst, GAP Solutions Inc. contractor supporting the Division for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health, and Community Resilience (ABC), Office of Policy and Planning (OPP), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR); Daniel Dodgen, PhD, Director, Division for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health, and Community Resilience (ABC), Office of Policy and Planning (OPP), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR); and Darrin Donato, Senior Policy Analyst, Division for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health, and Community Resilience (ABC), Office of Policy and Planning (OPP), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)
Published Date: 4/22/2016 12:45:00 PM
Category: Response & Recovery; Public Health Preparedness; Observances;

Earth day is a day to celebrate our amazing planet and to take time to pay attention to its inhabitants’ health and wellbeing. On April 4, 2016 the White House released its findings on the intersection of environment and human health in its new report, The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment.  Many people already knew that climate change brings with it increased sea level rise, extreme weather events, vector-borne illness, extreme temperatures and more. 

But did you  Read more…

Volunteering in tough conditions to protect health today and promote disaster preparedness for tomorrow

Author: Bobbie MacKenzie State MRC Volunteer Coordinator New Mexico Department of Health
Published Date: 3/11/2016 1:27:00 PM
Category: Observances; Exercises & Trainings;

The Annual Bataan Memorial Death March is tough. The 26.2 mile march through hot, rugged terrain lasts for 14 hours. Hundreds or even thousands of the 5,800 marchers are likely to need medical attention during the march – making this a “planned mass casualty” event. The New Mexico Medical Reserve Corps is an important part of the team that gets participants the help they need.

For the past five years the New Mexico Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) has worked with other volunteer disaster teams and the military to provide medical care during the Bataan Memorial Death March. As  Read more…

What the Paris attacks can teach us about resilience

Author: Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Nicole Lurie, MD, MSPH
Published Date: 11/20/2015 2:56:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery; Observances;

Like so many people around the world, I have family, friends, and colleagues in Paris, and like others around the world, my first thought when I heard of the terrorist attack last Friday was whether the people I knew were safe. While I was relieved that they were, my heart went out to the hundreds of people who lost loved ones. As Paris and the world mourn the senseless loss of life in the attack, Parisians and visitors to the great city are moving to recover quickly and, in doing so, are showcasing for the world what it means to be resilient.

As I learned about the attack   Read more…

Thoughts for New EMTs

Author: Kevin Horahan, Senior Policy Analyst, Division of Health System Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Published Date: 5/18/2015 10:23:00 AM
Category: Observances; Public Health Preparedness;

Emergency Medical Services Week is a great time for us to step back and celebrate the EMS providers who risk their own lives and health to protect the well-being of others.

Kevin Horahan, a paramedic and Senior Policy Analyst with the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, shares his thoughts on the ways that EMS professionals serve during disasters and everyday, including ways that they can better help people in chaotic situations when every second counts.

From Healthcare Clinics to Ebola Treatment Centers: Nurses Protect Health & Provide Comfort

Author: on behalf of ASPR Nurses
Published Date: 5/6/2015 9:37:00 AM
Category: Observances; Response & Recovery;

During any ordinary day, nurses triage and treat patients, navigate medical bureaucracy and help explain complicated medical issues in terms patients can understand. They manage any number of crises, often simultaneously. Often these incredibly busy people are the ones providing comfort, too. They listen to patients and families who are scared, worried, in pain, or sometimes just grumpy. They touch people’s lives.

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