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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Category: Response & Recovery

Speeding Recovery, Restoring Joy for a High-Risk COVID-19 Patient

Author: HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 2/19/2021 6:44:00 PM
Category: Response & Recovery; Medical Countermeasures; National Disaster Medical System;

Joyce Sonday of Tucson, Arizona, loved walking her property and the neighborhood regularly, visiting with family and cooking for her husband, but all of that changed when she contracted COVID-19. She became exhausted and lost her taste and sense of smell. She wasn’t sure what was wrong but her husband experienced the same symptoms. At first she thought they had sinus infections but decided to go to their local clinic where she and her husband tested positive for COVID-19.

On the Scene, Saving Lives

Author: Jonathan N. Greene, Deputy Assistant Secretary, HHS/ASPR Office of Operations and Resources
Published Date: 2/11/2021 11:23:00 AM
Category: National Disaster Medical System; Response & Recovery;

​Responders from the National Disaster Medical System Answer the Call to Service during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

The dedicated individuals of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) - known for their expertise, their teamwork, and their selfless commitment to saving lives during disasters and emergencies - have worked tirelessly on the front lines of health to fight COVID-19. More than 2,500 NDMS responders have deployed since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 and continue to deploy to support federal, state, local  Read more…

Community-Based Organizations Are More Important Than Ever During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author: Cheryl Levine, ASPR/EMMO
Published Date: 12/28/2020 11:23:00 AM
Category: Response & Recovery; Innovations;

Four New Tools for the Community-Based Organization's Toolkit

How Community-Based Organizations Can Leverage Innovative Practices, Build New Partnerships, and More for At-Risk Individuals During the COVID-19 Pandemic


“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Hellen Keller


If you work for a community-based organization (CBO  Read more…

The HHS emPOWER Program Launches a New Platform to Support Community Partners

Author: Kristen P. Finne, Director, HHS emPOWER Program and Senior Program Analyst, Office of Emergency Management and Medical Operations, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 12/10/2020 10:37:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;

New HHS emPOWER Program Platform Brings Tools and Resources to the Fingertips of Community Partners to Help Protect At-Risk Individuals

HHS emPOWER Program (emPOWER) has officially launched the HHS emPOWER Program Platform, a new mobile-ready technical assistance platform that provides public health, health care, and emergency manage  Read more…

NDMS Trauma and Critical Care Team Supported Medical Professionals with Intubated COVID-19 Patients

Author: HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 11/17/2020 2:03:00 PM
Category: Response & Recovery; Public Health Preparedness; National Health Security; National Disaster Medical System;

HHS Supported Response to the Novel Coronavirus in El Paso, Continues Support Nationwide


As part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 100 experts from across the country deployed recently as part of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) to provide temporary medical surge support to three hospitals in El Paso, Texas. Although this mission has ended, NDMS responders continue to provide important services in other communities across the country.

Beyon  Read more…

HHS Provides Guidance to Help Persons with Disabilities Return to the Community after a COVID-19 Diagnosis

Author: Cheryl Levine, PhD, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and Emmy Nye Program Specialist, Office of Behavioral Health, Disability, and Aging Policy, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evlaulation (ASPE)
Published Date: 10/30/2020 3:13:00 PM
Category: Hospital Preparedness; Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;

Care-coordination activities are especially important to reconnect persons with disabilities to their communities when they are discharged after a COVID-19 related hospitalization, isolation, or quarantine. Ensuring that persons with disabilities have meaningful access to community life requires nurses, medical social workers, case managers, and other discharge professionals to overcome additional obstacles presented by the public health emergency including limited staff, support services, and the changing needs of persons with disabilities who are recovering from COVID-19.

  Read more…

More than 50 Million BARDA-Supported COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests Shipped to Communities across the U.S.

Author: Rodney Wallace, BARDA, Detection, Diagnostics, & Devices Infrastructure (DDDI) Division Director
Published Date: 10/23/2020 10:13:00 AM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; Response & Recovery;

BARDA’s Public-Private Partnerships Support a Range of Tests from Future At-Home Kits to Major Lab Systems


As the coronavirus pandemic continues around the world, the need for rapid, accurate testing remains critical. Testing leads to the identification of active cases, helps spur more rapid treatment of people who are infected, and allows you and your doctor to take immediate action, such as isolating people who are ill.

COVID-19 is highly contagious, and the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, can be transmitted by people who do not show any symptoms  Read more…

Keeping First Responders Healthy as They Protect Communities from Wildfires

Author: HHS/ASPR Division of Critical Infrastructure Protection
Published Date: 9/23/2020 4:43:00 PM
Category: Response & Recovery;

Five Ways to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 during Wildfire Response Operations

An already active wildfire season in the American west was put into overdrive when wildfires spread across large parts of Oregon. This spread caused a significant change in the air quality index (AQI)—in some cases climbing above a 300 AQI value which can cause health problems within communities.

To combat the rapid spread of these dangerous fires, thousands of wildland firefighters and first responders from across the United States have leapt into action to protect communities and  Read more…

Clinical Synergies of New Medical Countermeasures in Burn Care

Author: Burn Medical Countermeasures Team, Division of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Medical Countermeasures, HHS/ASPR Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority
Published Date: 9/22/2020 12:36:00 PM
Category: Hospital Preparedness; Medical Countermeasures; Response & Recovery;

BARDA-supported Burn Products Could Help Enhance Patient Outcomes in Everyday Burn Care and Improve Preparedness for a Mass Casualty Incident


Earlier this summer, a burn patient received a minimally invasive skin graft using two BARDA-supported burn care products in tandem, an enzymatic debridement product and a product that promotes skin regeneration. Together these products helped a patient with second degree burns covering much of his body recover quickly – so quickly that he was back to working in his garden after just a few weeks. Read more…

Promoting Better Shelter Safety during Peak Fire Season

Author: HHS/ASPR Division of Critical Infrastructure Protection and CDC National Center for Environmental Health
Published Date: 8/25/2020 5:13:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery; Hospital Preparedness;

Six Ways Emergency Managers and Shelter Providers Can Protect Wildfire Evacuees, Shelter Workers, and Volunteers during the COVID-19 Pandemic


From 2009 to 2019, there have been an average of 64,100 wildfires annually, burning an average of 6.8 million acres each year, according to data from the National Interagency Fire Center. This year, wildfires present a tougher challenge to emergency managers and shelter operators, because shelters need to protect people  Read more…

Promoting Behavioral Health for Responders on the Front Lines of Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author: Rachel Kaul, LCSW, CTS, Senior Advisor for Behavioral Health, HHS/ASPR Emergency Management and Medical Operations
Published Date: 8/14/2020 9:14:00 AM
Category: Response & Recovery;

ASPR Implements Check-in Calls for NDMS Responders Returning from the Field

When disaster strikes, state, tribal, or territorial authorities can call on responders from the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) to help handle some of the nation’s toughest emergency-related health challenges.  NDMS responders are elite medical professionals who work as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other civilian health professionals in communities across the country. Following a disaster or emerg  Read more…

We All have a Role in Stopping the Pandemic. My Dad Deploys for NDMS. He is Risking His Life for Others.

Author: Joshua Baltz, son of Jack Baltz, a nurse practitioner with NDMS’ Disaster Medical Assistant Team in Tennessee (DMAT-TN1)
Published Date: 8/3/2020 7:33:00 PM
Category: Response & Recovery;

I need to talk about this patriot for a minute. You can't see, but under this mask is my dad. He just returned home after being deployed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) to fight in one of our nation's COVID-19 hotspots, South Texas.

 

  Read more…

Why sepsis solutions can help COVID-19 patients

Author: Kimberly Sciarretta, Ph.D., BARDA DRIVe Solving Sepsis Program Manager, and Meghan Pennini, Ph.D., Solving Sepsis Project Officer
Published Date: 6/22/2020 3:02:00 PM
Category: Hospital Preparedness; Medical Countermeasures; National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;


Assessing sepsis predictive technologies to aid in the pandemic response

In the current pandemic, ICUs worldwide are caring for COVID-19 patients with life-threatening multiple organ dysfunction, in other words, sepsis. This trend provides a stark reminder that sepsis is likely to arise as a secondary confounder of any health security threat, whether in the current coronavirus pandemic or a future public health emergency.

BARDA focuses on developing safe, effective medical countermeasures, such as vaccines, trea  Read more…

Hurricane Season 2020: Preparing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author: Laura Kwinn Wolf, Ph.D., Director, Division of Critical Infrastructure Protection, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 6/11/2020 8:55:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;

As we enter this year’s hurricane season, our nation has been battling a raging storm of a different type for the past five months – Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Healthcare and Public Health (HPH) community has tirelessly worked to provide care, move resources, and identify measures for treatment and prevention. With the first official day of the 2020 Atlantic and Pacific hurricane season on June 1, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicting above-normal storm activity, the HPH community must look at how to prepare for a unique hurricane response seaso  Read more…

emPOWER AI: Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence to Drive Data to Frontline Emergency Responders

Author: Kristen P. Finne, Director, HHS emPOWER Program and Senior Program Analyst, Office of Emergency Management and Medical Operations, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 6/4/2020 2:59:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;

In an emergency response, timing is everything. As hurricane and wildfire season gets underway, think back to the 2017 historic hurricanes and wildfires which presented new challenges not only for the scale but also for the impact to critical infrastructure. To help those on the frontline and some of our country’s most vulnerable citizens, emPOWER had to innovate and offer a tool that could deliver data with minimal actions and in seconds.

Three years ago, responders and volunteers rapidly rostered and deployed to areas on the shores and hills of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin I  Read more…

Raising Awareness: Many roads lead to sepsis, even for COVID-19 patients

Author: Timothy G. Buchman, MD, and Steven Q. Simpson, MD, BARDA/DRIVe
Published Date: 5/15/2020 5:30:00 PM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; Response & Recovery;

COVID-19 patients who are ill enough to require admission to an intensive care unit (ICU), often suffer from a major organ dysfunction. As a pair of critical care physicians with more than 80 years of combined service at the bedside in the ICU, we have spent our entire professional lives caring for patients with life-threatening organ dysfunction resulting from infections. We recognize this condition; it’s called sepsis.

While the most widely reported organ dysfunction for COVID-19 patients involves the lungs, many of these patients also have some combination of heart  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…

Virtual Wedding Bells

Author: By: Bryan Hanley, DTL, Medical Branch Director, Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT CA-9) deployed to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, National Disaster Medical System, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 3/19/2020 7:36:00 PM
Category: Response & Recovery;

Disaster Medical Assistance Team Helps Unite Father under Quarantine with his Daughter on her Wedding Day

At quarantine sites across the country, some passengers from the Grand Princess are missing important milestones as they wait out their quarantine, but responders from the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) are committed to making things a little bit easier for them. Earlier this month, NDMS responders helped a dad who was not able to be physically present virtually walk his daughter down the aisle while he was in quarantine. 

  Read more…

Making history: the world’s first FDA-approved Ebola vaccine

Author: Robert Kadlec, MD, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Published Date: 12/19/2019 7:31:00 PM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;

Public-private partners collaborate to prevent the spread of a global health threat

Today, we achieved a historic milestone in global health security with the approval of ERVEBO®, the first vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Administration (FDA) for the prevention of the Ebola virus disease (EVD). A safe and effective vaccine is a vital tool in combatting the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which is the second largest outbreak since the virus was discovered in 1976. Today’s approval by the FDA, which follows last month’s Europ  Read more…

Continuous Demands, Multiple Disasters, Mounting Stress

Author: Rachel Kaul, LCSW, CTS, Senior Advisor for Behavioral Health, HHS/ASPR Emergency Management and Medical Operations
Published Date: 9/13/2019 3:33:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Exercises & Trainings; Response & Recovery;

How Emergency Responders can Protect against Burnout, Compassion Fatigue, and PTSD

As any emergency responder knows, EMS providers, healthcare professionals and other emergency responders work in fast-paced, demanding, challenging environments. Although this work can be incredibly rewarding, the accumulation of daily stressors coupled with the intense pressures associated with a disaster – such as taking on unfamiliar duties, witnessing horrific events, comforting traumatized people, working back-to-back shifts, eating poorly, and sleeping rarely – can have serious repe  Read more…

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