Public Health Emergency - Leading a Nation Prepared
Author: Laura Kwinn Wolf, Ph.D., Director, ASPR Division of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Michael Eltringham, Stakeholder Engagement Analyst, ASPR Critical Infrastructure Protection Program Contract Support Published Date: 6/13/2019 8:26:00 AM
Category: Hospital Preparedness; Exercises & Trainings; Response & Recovery; Public Health Preparedness;
When Hurricane Maria hit in 2017, one unexpected challenge faced by the Healthcare and Public Health (HPH) Sector was maintaining production of medical gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, and argon on the island of Puerto Rico. The power needs for such an operation exceeded available generators; so, for the duration of electricity outages in the area, novel plans had to be devised for the challenging transport and distribution of products across the island.
Partners from the gas manufacturers, healthcare facilities, and the federal and territorial government closely coordinated Read more…
Author: Sean Andrews, MPH, NRP, Policy Analyst, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Published Date: 5/22/2019 3:04:00 PM
Category: Exercises & Trainings; Response & Recovery;
Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel respond to emergencies every day and serve on the front lines of the medical response to disasters, terrorist attacks, and mass casualty incidents. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is dedicated to supporting EMS personnel in enhancing and protecting the health and well-being of all Americans.
As the HHS lead for coordinating the public health and medical response to disasters and other emergencies, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) is dedicated to supporting EMS personnel and agencies Read more…
Author: Robert Kadlec, MD, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Published Date: 3/14/2019 4:13:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Medical Countermeasures; Response & Recovery; Innovations;
Blog Series: Battling the Ebola Epidemic
Ebola reemerged as a health threat in 2018, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where two outbreaks of Ebola virus disease have occurred since May 2018. The first of these two outbreaks, in western DRC, was quickly contained. However, the second outbreak, in eastern DRC, has yet to be contained due in large part to the volatile security situa Read more…
Author: Ron Miller, Ph.D., Director, National Disaster Medical System, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Published Date: 2/13/2019 10:35:00 AM
Category: Response & Recovery; Public Health Preparedness; Exercises & Trainings;
The National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) has a heroic, yet complex, mission to save lives and protect Americans. When disaster strikes, it’s potentially the worst day in the lives of hundreds – if not thousands – of people. Therefore, our mobilization, implementation, and execution need to be streamlined and seamless.
However, we never rest on our laurels. We are constantly training and identifying gaps within the preparedness and response framework to better mobilize when the inevitable ultimately occurs. NDMS has identified three pillars to expand the service’s c Read more…
Author: By Melanie Deal, Health Communications Specialist, HHS Health Resources and Services Administration Published Date: 2/7/2019 8:22:00 AM
Category: Response & Recovery;
Almost a year and a half after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, people across the island are still haunted by the memories of the devastating storm, and communities are still recovering. During a recent deployment to Puerto Rico to support disaster health recovery, I learned that recovery is truly a marathon that can take years. I am dedicated to helping people cope, heal and recover, and I have been honored to work with a great team for the Health and Social Services Recovery Support Function, managed by ASPR.
I Read more…
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…
Author: By Himilce Velez, Healthcare Services Branch Director
Health and Social Services Recovery Support Function
Published Date: 12/21/2018 4:46:00 PM
Category: Observances; Response & Recovery;
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…
Author: Esmeralda Pereira, Director of the Medical Reserve Corps Program Published Date: 12/3/2018 12:28:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;
As the holidays approach, many people are thinking about ways that they can give back to their communities and help others. Volunteering with the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a great way to help your community become healthier – during disasters and every day. Across the country, MRC units offer both medical and non-medical volunteers opportunities to serve people in their communities and a chance to network with other volunteers, learn new skills through training, and gain experience in emergency management and response.
Approximately 190,000 people volunteer with Read more…
Author: Cheryl A. Levine, PhD, Senior Advisor for At-Risk Individuals, Senior Policy Analyst
Neelam Salman, JD, Civil Rights Analyst
Amit S. Zigelman, MPH, Management Analyst
Published Date: 11/29/2018 5:14:00 PM
Category: Exercises & Trainings; Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;
You probably know that your community includes people who find it difficult to speak, read or understand English, and it’s easy to underestimate the diversity of language access needs in our communities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, at least 350 languages are spoken across the country. In addition, about 15 percent of American adults report some trouble hearing, 8.1 million people across the Read more…
Author: Robert P. Kadlec, MD, MTM&H, MS, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Published Date: 8/10/2018 12:54:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; National Health Security; Medical Countermeasures; Response & Recovery;
HHS’ Vision for Healthcare Preparedness is a multi-part blog series that describes ASPR’s four pillars to achieving national health security: providing strong leadership, building a Regional Disaster Health Response System, sustaining public health security capabilities, and advancing an innovative medical countermeasures enterprise. This blog focuses on sustaining public health security capabilities. Read the next post in the series here.
A catastrophic health emergency – whether n Read more…
Author: Judith Wolfe Laney, PhD, Chief of Chemical Medical Countermeasures, Division of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures within BARDA at the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Published Date: 4/11/2018 9:31:00 AM
Category: Exercises & Trainings; Medical Countermeasures; Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery; Innovations;
Last month, a truck carrying 4,400 gallons of hydrochloric acid collided with a train in Centerville, PA. For several hours, a column of white vapor floated above the wreckage. Emergency responders acted quickly to evacuate residents in the area and clean up the spill.
On a daily basis, thousands of businesses use our nation’s roads and railways to transport hazardous chemicals used for industrial or household purposes. Whether a chemical is released by accident, such as the case in Centerville, or intentionally by rogue assailants, terrorist organizations, or non-state acto Read more…
Author: CDR Aimee Williams, DHSC, LCSW-C, BCD, PhD, United States Public Health Service, Office of Policy and Planning, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and Frankie Catalfumo, MPH, Jr. Management Analyst, Aveshka Inc. in service of the Office of Policy and Planning, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Published Date: 3/29/2018 9:31:00 AM
Category: Response & Recovery; Public Health Preparedness;
The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most destructive in recent history. During the recovery phase of a disaster, all impacted areas strive to stabilize, rebuild, recover, and be ready for the next emergency. Returning to readiness is a slow pivot and a relentless fight to re-establish broad public health and medical care services. The challenges and issues following a large-scale disaster are often too complex for any one agency or organization to address. Assembling a coalition of community stakeholders can be an effective strategy to determine what health care suppo Read more…
Author: C. Kaleinani Lau, MPH, Field Coordinator, Health and Social Services Recovery Support Function (RSF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Public Health Analyst, Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Primary Health Care Published Date: 3/19/2018 4:48:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;
More than six months after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Texas is still recovering. But, with so many people and organizations in need of help, where is the best way for the state of Texas and its partners to focus their health and social services recovery efforts?
Six teams of recovery specialists, led by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, worked with representatives from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of State Health Services to identify projects as a part of the Read more…
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…
Author: John F. Koerner, MPH, CIH, Senior Special Advisor - Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, High-Yield Explosive (CBRNE) Science and Operations, HHS ASPR Immediate Office Published Date: 3/12/2018 2:22:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Innovations; Exercises & Trainings; Hospital Preparedness; National Health Security; Response & Recovery;
Quick questions: A nuclear incident has occurred in your community and people are going to come to you for help. Do you know which medical issues you should focus on first? Or which steps need to be taken immediately after an incident to best protect the public? Or what resources might be available to help?
Before you answer “no” to any of those questions, download a copy of the newly released Decision Maker’s Guide: Medical Planning and Response for a Nuclear Detonation.
An e Read more…
Author: Cheryl A. Levine, Ph.D., Senior Policy Analyst & Team Lead for At-Risk Individuals; Jose Velasco, MSW, Public Health Analyst for At-Risk Individuals; and Amit Zigelman, MPH, Jr. Management Analyst, Aveshka, Inc. in support of the ASPR Division for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health & Community Resilience Published Date: 2/21/2018 4:42:00 PM
Category: Response & Recovery; Public Health Preparedness; Innovations;
The recent impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria left Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) in complete devastation. Buildings and homes were destroyed. Hospitals, dialysis centers, and pharmacies that weren’t destroyed were closed due to water and wind damage or a lack of electricity. Transportation services were lacking or, in some areas, non-existent. These issues affected everyone; however, people with access and functional needs – including older adults and people with disabilities – were particularly vulnerable in the hurricanes’ aftermath.
In response, the Off Read more…
Author: C. Kaleinani Lau, MPH, Recovery Coordination Analyst, HSS RSF, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Public Health Analyst, Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Primary Health Care Published Date: 2/13/2018 11:47:00 AM
Category: Response & Recovery;
Greetings from Puerto Rico! I arrived on the island more than two months ago – my first deployment as part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Health and Social Services (HSS) Recovery Support Function (RSF) team. The team consists of experts from different agencies within HHS working together for a common purpose: to restore and improve Puerto Rico’s health and social services. Being here is inspiring, and I am glad I have the opportunity to serve on this mission.
Working To Read more…
Author: HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Published Date: 2/9/2018 4:50:00 PM
Category: Response & Recovery;
Disasters upend the lives of countless families – they not only destroy homes, businesses, schools, and roads, but they also can throw disaster survivor’s lives into chaos. Local leaders are suddenly confronted with decisions on a scale they’ve never encountered before and families must quickly learn how to support themselves and those who rely on them.
When homes are destroyed and the systems that people depend on every day – from water and sewer to roads and schools – are not functioning, it can be difficult if not impossible for some people to recover. When community and Read more…
Author: by Lori Upton, RN, BSN, MS, CEM, Director of Preparedness, Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council. Published Date: 1/31/2018 10:30:00 AM
Category: Hospital Preparedness; Response & Recovery; Public Health Preparedness;
During Hurricane Harvey, SETRAC’s Catastrophic Medical Operations Center, or CMOC, acted as a clearinghouse – overseeing information management, brokering requests for assistance and supplies, coordinating patient movement, and providing situational awareness across emergency response disciplines. We spoke with Upton to learn more about the CMOC’s structure and day-to-day functions.
Q: How many members are in the Catastrophic Medical Operations Center?
A: A fully staffed CMOC has 13 members. During Harvey we expanded the CMOC to Read more…
Author: CDR Betty Hastings,Texas Federal Health and Social Services Recovery Field Coordinator, Office of Emergency Management, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Published Date: 12/26/2017 12:27:00 PM
Category: Response & Recovery;
The response to Hurricane Harvey was rapid and robust. In the days and weeks after the storm, over 1,000 public health and medical responders deployed to protect residents’ health and save lives. HHS worked alongside state agencies, disaster relief organizations and other federal partners as part of the response.
But what happens now? How can communities across Texas recover?
To answer these questions, state and local health and human services officials needed more information and a better understanding of the health and social services needs cre Read more…
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