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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Innovation challenge seeks to solve a common hurdle in curbing coronavirus spread: mask design

Author: Sandeep Patel, Ph.D., Director, BARDA Division of Research, Innovations and Ventures, Kumiko Lippold, Ph.D., M.P.H., Health Scientist, BARDA Division of Research, Innovations and Ventures
Published Date: 4/8/2021 12:32:00 PM
Category: Innovations; Medical Countermeasures; Response & Recovery; Public Health Preparedness;

The creative talent of inventors and entrepreneurs across the entire country is the heartbeat of our economy and our nation’s well-being. At BARDA, we’d like to tap this energy to solve a critical challenge for our country: the design of comfortable, protective facemasks for the general public. Scientific evidence shows that masks can be useful in curbing the spread of respiratory infections, yet we know that actual use is not up to the same standard as intended use. Research shows the most common reasons people don’t wear masks or don’t wear them properly: fit, comfort – i  Read more…

Innovators: How Diversifying Your Network Can Help Ignite Ideas

Author: Christopher Houchens, Ph.D., Director, Division of CBRN Medical Countermeasures, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Marian Nakada, Ph.D., Vice President, Venture Investments, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc.
Published Date: 3/17/2021 1:24:00 PM
Category: Innovations; Response & Recovery;

Launching an innovative product or technology takes more than a good idea, and there are many actions startups can take to strengthen their offering and overall chance of success as they develop the latest innovations to bolster health security, including battling COVID-19. Over the last year, the global scientific community has proven critical to our collective ability to combat the pandemic, and Blue Knight™ offers a new way to build the kinds of partnerships needed to advance potentially life-saving technology during public health emergencies.

Blue KnightRead more…

Logistically Supporting the COVID Response Daily, One Responder’s Reflections on COVID-19 over the Course of the Pandemic

Author: Peter Cassell, ASPR Comms
Published Date: 3/16/2021 5:59:00 PM
Category: National Disaster Medical System; Response & Recovery; Public Health Preparedness;

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…

From COVID-19 to Ransomware, the Healthcare and Public Health Sector Battles Multiple, Simultaneous Threats

Author: Bob Bastani, CISSP, CISM, CRISC, Senior Cyber Security Advisor, Healthcare and Public Health Sector, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response (ASPR) And Kevin Dang (CTR), Cyber Security Analyst, Critical Infrastructure Protection ASPR Health and Human Services
Published Date: 12/7/2020 10:01:00 AM
Category: Cyber Security;

Find Out How You Can Protect Your Facility from Rising Ransomware Attacks

As COVID-19 infection rates rise, hospitals and healthcare facilities are understandably focused on protecting patients, staff, and providers from the virus – but COVID-19 is not the only rising threat to the healthcare industry. While healthcare providers continue to focus on responding to the pandemic, cyber threat actors are taking full advantage of healthcare vulnerabilities by perpetrating scams and phishing attacks, which largely depend on the target’s sense of fear and urgency.

  Read more…

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…

BARDA’s Reflections on Antibiotic Resistance and the Path Forward

Author: Mark Albrecht, PhD, Chief, Antibacterials Branch, Division of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Medical Countermeasures, HHS/ASPR/Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA); Jessica Swenson, MPH, Program Analyst, Antibacterials Branch, Division of CBRN Medical Countermeasures, HHS/ASPR/BARDA
Published Date: 11/18/2020 8:46:00 AM
Category: Medical Countermeasures;

Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest global health threats of our time. Antibiotics are vital tools for addressing bacterial infections and save untold millions of lives each year. However, the increasing prevalence of resistant strains of bacteria threatens the usefulness of antibiotics and can cause untreatable infections. CDC’s 2019 Report on Antibiotic Resistance Threats estimates indicate that each year, more than 2.8 million Americans develop   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…

BARDA Ventures: Evolving Federal National Health Security Using Novel Venture Capital-Style Partnership

Author: Gary Disbrow, Ph.D, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Acting BARDA Director, and Sandeep Patel, Ph.D, BARDA DRIVe Director, and Justin Yang, MBA, Catalyst Office Director
Published Date: 11/12/2020 3:42:00 PM
Category: Medical Countermeasures; National Health Security;

Partner with us to build a portfolio of next-generation of medical countermeasures using a cutting-edge business solution

After an extensive assessment of the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasure Enterprise (PHEMCE) in 2010, HHS found systemic gaps in the federal government’s ability to develop necessary medical countermeasures during an emergency. The review panel recommended the creation of an independent strategic investment entity to fund efforts aimed at mitigating such risks. The 21st Century Cures Act provided BARDA with the necessary authority to  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…

The Evolution of Influenza Preparedness during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author: Kristin L DeBord, PhD,Director, Strategy Division, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 6/29/2020 1:12:00 PM
Category: Hospital Preparedness; Medical Countermeasures; National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

New Federal Strategy Brings Continued Focus to Modernizing the Domestic Development and Manufacturing of Life-Saving Influenza Vaccines

On September 19, 2019, President Trump issued an executive order calling on public and private partners to modernize influenza vaccines to strengthen national security and public health. Today, I am proud to announce that the National Influenza Vaccine Modernization Strategy 2020-2030 has been released.  This strategy is aimed at building domestic capacity and capability through the use of new technologies to speed up the overall  Read more…

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