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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

A year of strengthening response

Natural disasters and other emergencies can have devastating effects on the health of those in their paths. ASPR leads the federal government’s public health and medical response and recovery. When disasters strike, ASPR brings unified federal support to state and local officials to respond to the immediate health needs of residents when local resources are overwhelmed.

Responding to Hurricanes

ASPR led the federal government’s public health and medical response to an unprecedented hurricane season, which included Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

For full description, see

Using the HHS emPOWER Map

HHS emPOWER Map 3.0, developed and supported by ASPR, gives every public health official, emergency manager, hospital, first responder, electric company, and community member the power to find out more about the electricity-dependent Medicare population in their state, territory, county, and ZIP Code. 

For the first time, ASPR leveraged its emPOWER system to support the search, rescue and evacuation of approximately 200 dialysis patients and arranged for the patients’ medical care and social services.

Deploying the National Disaster Medical System

The Best of Care in the Worst of Times

Responders with ASPR’s National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) deployed to provide medical care, furnish desperately needed medical equipment and temporary medical facilities, and assist the states and territories affected by the 2017 hurricanes. 

To find out how NDMS operates in the field, take this virtual tour with Paul Biddinger, a Medical Officer with the National Disaster Medical System.

To see more videos of NDMS in action and other aspects of the medical response to the 2017 hurricanes, see our hurricane response playlist.

Activating the HHS Secretary’s Operations Center

The Secretary’s Operations Center remained activated 24/7/365 responding to emergencies, coordinating healthcare support during national security special events, and monitoring for potential disasters.​​​​

Member of ASPR staff staffs the HHS Secretary's Operations Center


  • This page last reviewed: September 26, 2018