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Category: Public Health Preparedness

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…

Recovering from the Fourth Worst Disaster in U.S. History: Implications for Children’s Health in Recovery

Author: CDR Betty Hastings Louisiana Federal Health and Social Services Recovery Field Coordinator, Office of Emergency Management, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.
Published Date: 8/23/2017 11:50:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;

Last year’s flooding in Louisiana ranked as the fourth worst disaster in U.S. history. Fifty-six of Louisiana’s 64 parishes were affected by major floods in 2016, and communities are still recovering with the help of an interagency federal response.

Child care centers and schools closed. The statistics related to children were staggering.

  Read more…

Discovering a Career in Health

Author: Priya Rathakrishnan, President, HOSA Executive Council
Published Date: 8/22/2017 1:10:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness;

For teachers, volunteers, and leaders looking to engage young people, it can be hard to know where to start or how to get those young people involved. Often the best avenue to engage new audiences is to go directly to them in the places they already spend time. In looking to engage young people, professionals should look to other areas in their community where young people volunteer. In her own words, here is one student’s journey, from local library volunteer to HOSA President, that shows how an initial spark of interest in volunteerism and community involvement can build into  Read more…

Whatever it takes: Medical Reserve Corps volunteers leverage eastern tradition to aid behavioral health after disasters

Author: Stacy Sayre, Region 8 Medical Reserve Corps Liaison and Rachelle Lambert, Licensed Acupuncturist and Unit Coordinator, Colorado Acupuncture Medical Reserve Corps
Published Date: 8/16/2017 9:41:00 AM
Category: Response & Recovery; Public Health Preparedness; Innovations;

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, managers at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York asked the nearby Lincoln Recovery Center to provide respite and ear acupuncture treatment for staff and first responders impacted by the tragedy. Some of those treated reported that after treatment they slept better than they had in days or weeks.

Lincoln Recovery had developed an ear acupuncture treatment called the NADA protocol to assist substance abuse detoxification and recovery support in concert with other behavioral health interventions. The successful use of this techni  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…

New Frontiers and Extreme Environments: BARDA and NASA Join Forces to Better Protect the American Public and Astronauts from Radiation Injury

Author: Mary J. Homer, PhD, Chief of Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures Branch, HHS/ASPR/BARDA and Lynne Wathen, Biodosimetry Team Leader in the Diagnostics and Medical Devices Division, HHS/ASPR/BARDA
Published Date: 8/2/2017 10:22:00 AM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; Innovations; Public Health Preparedness;

Although an odd couple at first glance, NASA and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority in the office of the HHS ASPR share a common interest: protecting people from radiation injury.

  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…

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…

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